Perinian brothers sign plea bargain

Brothers suspected of several murders, but will serves as little as 20 months.

Oded and Sharon Perinian, Negev brothers suspected of involvement in a number of murders as well as the operation of an Ashkelon area illegal business, have struck a plea bargain with Southern District prosecutors. The Perinians will plead guilty to connections to crime, but the main charge against them - the 1999 murder of Negev-area gangster Pinhas Buhbout - was dropped. After years of investigation against them, the Perinians will each serve as little as 20 months in prison following the second set of plea bargains made with district attorneys in relation to the case. The brothers were arrested in August 2005, after police searched for them for over a month. The arrest warrant against them followed years of scandal surrounding Buhbout's murder. That murder - and the subsequent murder of would-be-state's-witness Tzahi Ben-Or - are the subject of the Zeiler Commission's probe into the behavior of the Israel Police. The Perinians allegedly paid off police officers in order to stall the investigations into Ben-Or's and Buhbout's murders. Whether because of kick-backs or because of investigative errors, the inquiry into the two murders by the Southern District's Central Investigative Unit took over five years. After remaining unsolved until 2004, the case was transferred out of the Southern District and cracked in less than a year. Less than two weeks ago, the two underworld figures fingered by police as the alleged murderers of Tzachi Ben-Or were sentenced to four and eight years of prison respectively after pleading guilty on drastically reduced terms, with the district attorney's office once again agreeing to strike the murder charges from their rap sheets. Eran Hiya and Gadi Hazan are both suspected of visiting Ben-Or in his Cancun, Mexico apartment and then murdering him and attempting to kill his girlfriend. Hiya, who knew the cop-turned-killer before he fled the country, was allegedly sent by the Perinian brothers to silence the would-be state's witness. According to the plea bargain, Hiya will serve eight years and Hazan will serve four in exchange for Ben-Or's murder being dropped from the charge sheet after the two confessed to "causing severe injuries" to Ben-Or's girlfriend, Joana Darli. The two allegedly slit Darli's throat before leaving her for dead in the apartment. They agreed to pay NIS 60,000 in retribution to their victim. The Perinians are also expected to be forced to pay retribution to Buhbout's widow.