Singer’s son to remain in custody in ‘Margalit Affair'

Court rejects appeal to release Assaf Lavi-Tzanani.

August 22, 2011 05:36
2 minute read.
Margalit Tzanani in court

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


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As police continue to investigate what has been dubbed the “Margalit Affair,” the Central District Court rejected on Sunday an appeal by Assaf Lavi- Tzanani against last week’s lower court decision to extend his remand.

Lavi-Tzanani was arrested alongside his mother, popular singer Margalit Tzanani, and three others, including music producer Yossi Ben David, who is suspected of linking Margalit Tzanani with the underworld.

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Also arrested and remanded were Michael Hazan and Ofer Amar, both allegedly members of the Amir Mullner crime family.

Ben David has since been released to house arrest, but the other four suspects, including Margalit Tzanani, remain in custody as police investigations into the affair continue.

Police suspect that Tzanani asked mobsters from the Mullner crime family to collect an unpaid debt from her manager, Assaf Atagadi, and have also expressed concerns about the extent to which criminal elements have infiltrated the entertainment business.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s court had ruled to extend Lavi- Tzanani’s remand for nine days on grounds that he might obstruct the ongoing investigation into the affair.

In Sunday’s hearing, Lavi- Tzanani’s lawyer Shahar Hatzroni told the court that it was a “mistake to try to connect Lavi Tzanani in the same breath with [Hazan and Amar],” and in any case would not be able to interfere with the ongoing investigation if he were released to house arrest.

However, in rejecting the appeal, Judge Ruth Lorch ruled that since Lavi-Tzanani was remanded in custody there have been new developments in the investigation that support claims that he was involved in the alleged offenses.

In a separate hearing in the Central District Court on Sunday, Judge Lorch also rejected an appeal by Michael Hazan and Amir Ofar, the two others remanded in connection with the case.

Judge Lorch said her decision to reject the appeal against Hazan’s and Ofar’s extended remand was partly based on her review of the new investigative material added since last week’s lower court hearings.

Hazan and Ofar have denied their involvement in the affair and said they were only socially acquainted with Tzanani.

Their lawyer, Tamir Sananas, told the court on Sunday that Hazan had still not been informed what he had done.

“Is Hazan accused of anything else apart from extortion?,” Sananas asked. “I need to know the answer so that I can defend him in court.”

He also told the court that he had seen a television interview with Tzanani’s manager, Assaf Atagadi, in which he had claimed he had not been extorted.

However, Sananas said that after reviewing the investigation materials – particularly the new information added after last week’s court hearings – he would accept the District Court’s recommendation to retract the appeal against Hazan’s and Ofar’s remand.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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