Police, Tax Authority force mobsters to declare assets in attack on finances

Police, Tax Authority fo

Suspected mobsters faced demands by the police and the Tax Authority to declare their assets on Tuesday, as part of a new bid by law enforcement to target the finances of organized crime rings. Acting on information provided by the Israel Police's Investigations and Intelligence Branch and the Tax Authority, officers from police districts around the country arrived at the homes of the suspects with written demands for biannual tax reports and asset declarations. Police believe the alleged criminal elements "possess large sums of money and property that were obtained illegally, through hiding sources of income and making false reports," according to a statement released on Tuesday. "The demands came after advanced preparations, including mapping out suspects thought to be involved in serious criminal activity," the statement added. "Today's operation forms an additional layer in combined law enforcement activities and inter-organizational cooperation against organized crime, which is aimed at collecting taxes from sources of income derived from illegal activity," police said. In a June 2009 report, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss took the police to task for failing to wage economic war on organized crime. "Not one [police] unit mapped out all of the assets of crime organizations... Assets of crime organizations have not been revoked in any way, not through seizures or their return to victims [of crime], and not through confiscations by the Tax Authority," the report said. The Israel Police accused the Tax Authority of failing to cooperate in investigations on suspected mobsters, citing a previous strike launched by Tax Authority employees who demanded hazard pay for tackling the finances of crime barons. The issue was resolved in October last year, when Tax Authority head Yehuda Nasradishi said a new task force of accountants, economists and other legal experts was being assembled to assist police. "Our presence was lacking in this field," Nasradishi conceded during a Knesset appearance last year. "I am planning to compensate us all for that in the war against crime in 2010," he added.