Indictment against Tzanani to be filed next week

Court extends popular singer’s remand and those of two senior underworld figures suspected in the case.

August 26, 2011 06:12
3 minute read.
Margalit Tzanani in court

Margalit Tzanani in court311. (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger)


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The Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s court on Thursday extended the detention of Margalit Tzanani for an extra five days.

Police suspect that Tzanani asked mobsters to extort an unpaid debt from her manager, Assaf Atadegi.

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In court on Thursday, police commander attorney Alon Grossman said that an indictment against Tzanani would be filed at the end of those five days, as well as a request that the singer remain in custody for the duration of the trial.

However, Tzanani’s defense attorney Sassi Gaz argued that he has not seen details of the charges against the singer, and alleged that Tzanani did not know why she was being investigated.

“We have not seen the facts, we don’t know who, when and what the level of extortion was,” said Gaz. “My client keeps asking me why she is here.”

Tzanani’s defense team also alleged that the police had misinterpreted wiretapped conversations Tzanani had made about threatening Atadegi.

However, Grossman said Tzanani had been told in detail why she is being investigated and also that police investigators have collected a great deal of evidence against her.

“We know exactly what she received, or what she was supposed to receive and how she did it, the date on which the level of threats was raised to extortion, and against whom. We know everything and it will be in the indictment,” said Grossman.

He also added that police have very strong evidence that Tzanani used “other criminals” to extort Atadegi.

“All along the way, [Tzanani] wanted the threats, she wanted the extortion,” Grossman said.

In ruling to extend Tzanani’s detention, Judge Ita Nachman said that a review of the investigative material had satisfied her that there is sufficient evidence that Tzanani carried out the alleged offenses.

In two additional hearings on Thursday, the court also ruled that Michael Hazan and Shalom Domrani, two underworld figures arrested in connection with the case, would also remain in custody for several more days to allow police investigations to continue.

Hazan is allegedly an agent of the Amir Mullner crime family, as is Ofer Amar, another suspect arrested in connection with the case.

The extension of Hazan’s remand by five days will allow state prosecutors to file an indictment against him alongside a request that he remain in detention for the duration of the trial, police said.

The court also ruled to extend Shalom Domrani’s detention by four days.

Police suspect that Domrani, who was was arrested on Wednesday, had been asked by Tzanani to commit extortion and that the singer had connected him with Michael Hazan, the Amir Mullner crime family agent, in order to extort Atadegi.

Domrani, an organized crime boss, was already under house arrest in connection with a different offense when he was taken into custody.

At the start of the hearing, Domrani asked the court to disqualify Judge Ita Nachman from hearing the case, because she had previously determined that there was evidence against him in a different extortion case.

“Does the court have something personal against me?” he asked.

However, Judge Nachman dismissed the request, saying that she was not familiar with the suspect and would rule only according to the evidence before her.

Commander attorney Grossman told the court that since Domrani’s arrest, the investigation had turned up additional evidence linking him to the offense.

Judge Ita Nachman said in her ruling that the investigation material presented to the court satisfied her that there is a reasonable suspicion that Domrani is involved in the alleged offenses.

Although Tzanani has admitted visiting Domrani in his home several weeks ago, she claimed this was in connection with a performance she wanted to arrange, reports say.

Another suspect in the case, Tzanani’s son, Assaf Lavi- Tzanani, was released to house arrest on Wednesday after police completed their investigations regarding his role in the affair.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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