Court rules Alperon foe will remain in custody

Police spokesman tells 'Post' confidential documents were presented in bid to keep Mulner in custody.

netanya abutbul mafia mob hit crime 88 (photo credit: )
netanya abutbul mafia mob hit crime 88
(photo credit: )
Police scored a victory in a court battle to keep senior crime figure Amir Mulner in custody on Wednesday, after convincing a Tel Aviv District Court to reverse an earlier decision to release Mulner to house arrest. Mulner was taken into custody last week along with 16 other suspects during a police raid on a Ramat Gan apartment. All of the suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of a gun with a silencer. Mulner is a prime suspect in last month's car bomb assassination of senior mob kingpin Ya'acov Alperon, though police have not officially linked his arrest to the hit at this stage. A Tel Aviv Police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that a number of confidential documents had been presented to the court as part of the bid to keep Mulner in custody. During last week's raid on the home of Mulner associate Eli Reuven, police recovered recordings from Reuven's own CCTV footage, which showed him and a number of other suspects attempting to wrap a gun and silencer in a towel and hide them in jerry can. On Tuesday, Tel Aviv Magistrate Judge Benny Sagi said the video confirmed that some of the suspects had been involved in a conspiracy to commit a crime, but noted that Mulner and another suspect had their backs turned to the illegal activity. As a result, Sagi could not definitively conclude that Mulner had been aware of the gun. Sagi accepted some of the arguments made by Mulner's lawyer, Motti Katz, and ordered Mulner released to house arrest. However, he allowed police 24 hours to launch an appeal to the Tel Aviv District Court. Mulner's arrest was carried out by undercover detectives from the Tel Aviv Police's Central Unit and came on the heels of the car bomb that killed Alperon. In January 2006, Mulner, an explosives expert, attended a "mafia summit" at the Daniel Hotel in Herzliya. The conference went sour after Alperon's son, Dror, stabbed Mulner in the neck during a dispute with the senior Alperon. One month later, Mulner was arrested for possession of explosives near the Arab village of Baka al-Gharbiya. A subsequent investigation found that he had linked up with Arab crime figures to acquire explosive devices. Many speculated that Alperon was the intended target.