(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An infamous Israeli mafioso who once ran an Israeli organized crime gang in New York and an Israeli football club manager are among nine suspects arrested in a major organized crime case, involving the extortion of millions of shekels from a series of victims.
At the center of the case is the extortion of a wedding hall owner from the Tel Aviv area who reportedly fled Israel due to the threats and extortion by the central suspect.
So far detectives have arrested nine people on suspicion of extortion, assault, money laundering and weapons charges. A further 11 people were brought in for questioning, including the attorney for the former mafia leader.
Police and tax authorities also seized five vehicles and a halfa- million shekels in cash on Monday.
Police have been investigating the allegations against the suspects for the past two months, and made the decision to carry out the raids on Monday.
On Tuesday all nine men will be brought for a remand extension at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court.
The man at the center of the case headed a New York-based Israeli organized crime gang that ran extortion and drug rackets along the East Coast in the ’80s and ’90s. He was also involved in a series of feuds with former associates, including ones who had become witnesses against him. Three of those men ended up dead, but so far police have been unable to secure an indictment against him.
The same suspect was arrested in early March on suspicion of being involved in the throwing of a grenade at a house in Rishon Lezion belonging to a man who owed him money. In a search of a residence belonging to him, police found three ceramic bulletproof vests, bomb-making supplies, ski masks, police billy clubs, and hundreds of shekels in cash.