Court approves plea bargain between state and Perinians

The police intended to charge the Perinians with murder, but had to agree to a far lesser charge after realizing that the evidence might not stand up in court.

Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday approved a plea-bargain agreement between the state and Sharon and Oded Perinian whereby the brothers will not be accused of ordering the murders of Pinhas Buhbut and Tzahi Ben-Or and will serve a maximum of five years in jail. The police and the state prosecution intended to charge the Perinians with murder, but had to agree to a far lesser charge after they realized that the evidence against the suspects might not stand up in court. According to the agreement with the Perinians' attorneys, Moshe Sherman and David Yiftah, the charge in the indictment was changed from "conspiracy to commit murder" to "conspiracy to commit a crime." According to the agreement, the time the Perinians have already spent in jail will be deducted from the five-year sentence, leaving about 44 months to go. If the two also get one-third of their sentence reduced for good behavior, they will have to spend two more years in jail. According to the agreement, they will also pay Buhbut's family damages of NIS 100,000. The Perinians featured prominently in the Zeiler Committee report which was published at the beginning of the week. According to the allegations against them, in 1999 the brothers hired Tzahi Ben-Or, a rogue cop, and Shimon Elmikayes to kill Buhbut after he had been wounded in a failed assassination attempt. Five years later, the brothers allegedly hired two assassins who killed Ben-Or in Mexico after Ben-Or had told the police about his ties to them. The Perinians were arrested 16 months ago. The prosecution hoped to convict them on the basis of a taped conversation between Ben-Or and Elmikayes in which Ben-Or succeeded in linking the two of them to the murder of Buhbut and to the Perinians. They were also counting on a taped conversation in which Elmikayes reportedly confessed to his involvement in Buhbut's murder and his ties to the Perinians. However, the state concluded that the evidence would likely not stand up in court and the brothers might be set free altogether. They decided to settle for the lesser charge.