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(photo credit: Associated Press)
Yigal Landau, co-CEO of Ratio, one of the companies responsible for the major natural gas discoveries of Israel’s northern coast, is under police investigation for seeking criminal protection from alleged underworld kingpin Meir Abergil, Channel 2 reported Wednesday evening.
Landau admitted to meeting with Abergil in connection with a series of threats he had received from another criminal threatening his and his family’s well-being should he fail to arrange a payoff. He claimed that he hired a security company to protect his family after visiting the police and being told there was little they could do to protect his family before an attack actually occurred.
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According to his testimony, the head of the security company arranged a meeting between Landau and “a respected person,” who turned out to be Abergil.
Landau denied agreeing to receive Abergil’s protection, but the case proceedings are set to continue.
Abergil was brought into a bitter business dispute between the Ashkelon-based Globus International construction firm and the Ratio Oil search company, Channel 2 revealed on Tuesday. The report was based on a petition by the head of the Globus International company, Shlomo Shukrun, to a Tel Aviv District Court this week, aimed at canceling a business arbitration with Razio Oil. Global International has accused Razio Oil of bringing the underworld into an arbitration agreement to settle a business dispute.
According to the petition, the current arbitrator chosen to settle the dispute between the firms, attorney Assaf Baram, was appointed by Abergil, who is currently behind bars and awaiting a court decision on whether to extradite him to the US on money-laundering and extortion charges.
For his part, Ratio Oil’s Landau told the court that he had been
threatened repeatedly by underworld elements and claimed that alleged
criminals who visited his home threatened his children. According to the
newspaper, Landau and
joint Ratio Oil CEO Ligad Rotlevy have become local gas tycoons
following a successful natural gas drill off Israel’s coast after an