Italy to extradite fugitive Heftsiba CEO Yona to Israel

Lawyer announces he'll appeal decision, says it will be months before his client can actually be brought to justice in Israel.

Boaz Yona 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Boaz Yona 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Court of Appeals in Venice, Italy decided Tuesday to extradite former Heftsiba CEO Boaz Yona to Israel. The judge rejected Yona's counsel's claims to the effect that the request documents sent by Israel were insufficient to warrant his extradition. Yona's lawyer announced that he would appeal the decision and added that the protracted extradition process would last many months. The extradition date is expected to be determined in 45 days. Italian police nabbed Yona on August 30 in Castelnuovo del Garda, a lakeside town near Verona, after a hunt that spanned several European countries, including Romania, where Yona was initially believed to be in hiding. The fugitive businessman is suspected of purposefully defrauding Heftsiba customers of many millions of dollars. Many of them purchased apartments from the company but never got to move in because the apartments were seized to pay off enormous debts that the company did not publicly declare. Since his arrest, Yona has been under house arrest in Verona. Israel's extradition request, which was submitted three months ago, includes allegations of grand larceny in aggravated circumstances, false registration in company documents, money laundering and a number of other serious crimes. Yona is believed to have fled to escape revenge from criminals with whom he had conducted business. Israel and Italy belong to the European Covenant on Extraditions and may therefore ask each other to extradite citizens of their countries who have committed a crime and then fled to the other country for refuge. Dan Izenberg and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report