State indicts crime boss Abergil, associates for NIS 51m money-laundering scheme

The charges include a range of: fraud, money-laundering, tax fraud, corporate fraud and other charges.

Shekel money bills (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shekel money bills
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office on Sunday filed an indictment with the Tel Aviv District Court against crime boss Yitzhak Abergil and a range of other defendants and companies for a scheme in which they moved as much as NIS 51 million in public funds from a public company to Abergil’s interests, including a casino in Romania.
In March, the district attorney’s office had announced that it would likely file the indictment, but had added in a statement that it would grant Abergil and the others a special pre-indictment hearing before filing the case.
Most indictments do not allow pre-indictment hearings, which are usually reserved for top public officials and other high-profile complex cases.
The other defendants include: Yair Biton, the companies S.Y.N. Gan Raveh, B. Yair Construction and A.A.N. Electricity as well as Nissim Pines, Shimon Balulu, Hanita Pines, Naftali Peretz.
The charges include a range of: fraud, money-laundering, tax fraud, corporate fraud and other charges.
Abergil has been serving jail time on a range of criminal offenses linked to his time as one of the country’s leading crime bosses, most recently in Israel, but also served some jail time in the US prior to January 2014.
His extradition and conviction in the US was one of the most complex joint Israel-US criminal investigations ever carried out, especially in light of his stature in the organized crime world.
Separately, in mid-July, the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office filed indictments against criminal kingpins Aberjil, his brother, Meir Aberjil, and 18 other associates or related alleged criminals for their involvement in the attempted bombing of rival crime-lord Ze'ev Rosenstein in Tel Aviv in December 2003 and the incidental murder of three bystanders
Regarding this new indictment, it is alleged that Abergil, Nissim Pines and Balulu established S.Y.N. Gan Raveh in 2007, but registered it only in Balulu’s name in order to cover-up Abergil and Nissim Pines’ involvement.
B. Yair Construction was a private company under Biton’s control in 2006, when it became a public company, though Biton remained the controlling shareholder, said the indictment.
From 2007-2008, noted the indictment, S.Y.N. signed agreements with B. Yair to build 86 units for a housing development projects in Eilat for a payment of NIS 41,650,000 million.
Next, the indictment stated that S.Y.N. signed the agreement while representing publicly that it was a certified developer, though it had no certification, Nissim Pines’ was publicly legally bankrupt and he was also prohibited from engaging in work as a developer.
Biton moved forward with the deals against the backdrop of debts he had to Abergil and being extorted out of millions of shekels by Gabi Ben Hirsh, alleged the indictment.
The indictment said that many buyers purchased units as part of the Eilat development not knowing that the developer was not licensed and that Abergil and Nissim Pines were part of the ownership of the project behind the scenes – facts which likely would have dissuaded them from investing.
B. Yair paid NIS 51,968,000 to S.Y.N. as a tactic for secretly transferring funds to Abergil, his family and his associates even during a period where Abergil’s straw company was not moving forward with construction and even as B.Yair needed to continue funding the construction, according to the indictment.
Of the around NIS 51 million, NIS 510,000 alone went to Aberjil’s family including a car which only she used and for personal use, but which was registered as a company car of S.Y.N, the indictment alleged.
According to the indictment, B. Yair, under Biton’s order, had to expend an additional NIS 20 million toward building the units in Eilat to fix problems and shabby construction which occurred as a result of his transferring funds, which earlier had been earmarked for proper construction standards, to Aberjil and his associates.
Despite this, noted the indictment, B, Yair, again under Biton’s order and without notifying company management, gave S.Y.N. NIS 2 million as part of a deal without economic basis in which B. Yair pledged not to sue S.Y.N.
Some of the NIS 51 million was used for Abergil’s NIS 6 million investment in a casino in Romania, the indictment said.
In addition, Aberjil, Pines and Balulu failed to report NIS 13 million which they received from S.Y.N. to the tax authority.