Eilat mobster, henchmen convicted of violent crimes, including attempted murder

Beersheba court: Ilan Ben-Sheetrit ran gambling ring, received illegal funds, ordered or perpetrated attacks.

Gavel [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Gavel [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
In a major series of convictions, the Beersheba District Court convicted Eilat organized- crime mastermind Ilan Ben-Sheetrit and seven of his associates of a wide range of crimes on Wednesday, from multiple counts of attempted murder to money-laundering NIS 30 million.
Ben-Sheetrit was convicted of running an illegal gambling ring, receiving illegal funds related to criminal activities, and ordering or carrying out violent crimes.
Though he and the other defendants were arrested in 2012, aspects of his crimes were also connected with Yitzhak Abergil’s criminal organization and Case 512 – the massive investigation that captured the public’s attention this year – in particular some of the drug distribution charges. Case 512 included probes of assassination plots and other crimes from the last decade.
Yanin Malul, Ben-Sheetrit’s top lieutenant, was convicted of managing and directing activities related to the syndicate’s illegal-loans arm, especially for loans to gamblers.
Another top lieutenant of Ben-Sheetrit’s, Oren Almakis, was convicted of managing and directing syndicate activities related to running the gambling establishments.
Malul and Almakis each took over some of Ben-Sheetrit’s responsibilities in running the organization while he was in prison.
The other convicted gang members included Lior Balti; Chen Ben-Sheetrit, the kingpin’s son; Maor Mehager; Orel Balti; and Yaniv Zino, who doubled as an employee at the Eilat Municipality’s tourism office.
The Justice Ministry said the convictions marked a major victory in its fight against a syndicate that spread criminal activities throughout Eilat for five years before the main players were arrested in 2012.
It added that the case had been extremely complex and required the involvement of a variety of law enforcement experts, as well as the calling of hundreds of witnesses at trial.
The state added that a key part was its own success in getting one of the syndicate’s former members to become a state’s witness.