Heftsiba CEO linked to Israel's No. 1 loan shark

Documents indicate that Yona may have embezzled at least NIS 70 million from two of the building companies under Heftsiba's control.

Heftsiba 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Heftsiba 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Following a trickle of initial reports Monday that Heftsiba CEO Boaz Yona might be involved in underworld loans, the stream of information concerning the fugitive building mogul grew into a river of allegations tying Yona to the man considered Israel's number one loan shark, Shlomo Narkis. A series of leaks of documentary evidence pertaining to the case against Yona indicated that he may have embezzled at least NIS 70 million from two of the building companies under Heftsiba's control. A Channel 10 probe released Monday night revealed at least one money transfer in which $1.95 million was transferred from a New York account at a JP Morgan bank to a Jerusalem bank account listed in both Narkis and Yona's names. That transaction, carried out by check, was dated July 25, a short week before the collapse of Yona's company, Heftsiba. Investigators have raised eyebrows at NIS 70 million allegedly taken personally by Yona from the daughter company, Heftsiba Jerusalem Gold, and another NIS 30 million taken from Heftsiba Hofim for real estate investment in eastern Europe. That money, investigators suspect, may never have been used for real estate purchases, but rather transferred to overseas bank accounts - only to be returned, "cleaned," to Israeli accounts held by Yona and Narkis. Police also announced Monday that among the Heftsiba corporate officers questioned Sunday by investigators from the National Fraud Squad was Dalia Mizrahi, the sales director for the Heftsiba group. She is suspected of carrying out criminal offenses including fraud against both clients and banks that worked with the troubled company. Following her arrest, Mizrahi was released to one week of house arrest, with additional restrictions. The police net is slowly closing around Heftsiba's highest echelons. On Sunday, Heftsiba's former assistant to the CEO Freddy Algemil and Heftsiba Jerusalem Gold chief financial officer Mordechai Netanel were both remanded to five days of house arrest while investigators continue to build a case against them for charges including - in Netanel's case - failure to report, false documentation, fraud and violation of trust. Yona remains overseas. Police have repeatedly emphasized that they do know of his whereabouts, but that they will not divulge that information to the public for fear of complicating the investigation.