21 suspects arrested for money laundering in country-wide police raid

A covert investigation that had been ongoing for months ended on Monday morning after a number of police and Tax Authority investigative units raided dozens of businesses.

Suspects arrested for money laundering in country-wide police raid

Some 21 suspects were arrested for money laundering and tax offenses on Monday after a covert, months-long investigation by a variety of units, the Israel Police said.

The laundered money amounted to NIS 500 million and was essential for facilitating additional criminal activity, the police said.

The investigation was led by the Lahav 433's National Unit for Economic Crime in cooperation with Israel Tax Authority units including the Customs and VAT Investigations Unit and Yahalom, the unit that specializes in complex economic crime.

The accusations include extortion, money laundering, fraud and falsifying corporate documents, and were done using fake invoices and failing to declare approximately NIS 500 million in income.

The police investigation was aided by the State Attorney's Office's Taxation and Economics department, police said.

 Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai in the crime-ridden city of Rahat in April 24, 2022 (credit: ISRAEL POLICE) Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai in the crime-ridden city of Rahat in April 24, 2022 (credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

Throughout the investigation, the police mapped out a wide web of construction, human resources, car rental and money exchange companies that were being used as part of the criminal scheme.

The police on Monday morning raided dozens of homes, businesses, financial service stores and others, and seized assets worth tens of millions of shekel that will be permanently confiscated pending legal proceedings.

Lahav 433 have been central to a number of high-profile investigations of Arab-Israeli crime families. 

On March 7, an undercover sting operation by two Lahav 433 police officers led to the arrest of 51 suspects for weapons trafficking and the seizure of dozens of weapons and explosive devices.