Slain TA lawyer's underworld client interrupts court over killing

Netanya kingpin Asi Abutbul 'in shock' over death.

abutbul smiling 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
abutbul smiling 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
Alleged Netanya mob boss Asi Abutbul interrupted his hearing at the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday by shouting, "There are people who are guilty for this [Yoram Hacham's] murder." On Wednesday, Hacham, a lawyer who formally represented Abutbul, was killed by a car bomb in Tel Aviv. Hacham's clients included some of Israel's most notorious crime-family figures. Police are examining a number of leads, including the possibility that a jealous millionaire, who cannot be named because of a media ban, may have ordered a hit on Hacham after accusing him of "stealing" his wife and a large sum of money. "After he called out in court, everyone was asked to leave the hall," said Amnon Zichroni, a senior criminal lawyer who represented Abutbul in court on Sunday. "We stayed behind to speak to the judges. I can't say what was discussed." Zichroni said he has not yet decided whether to formally take on Abutbul's case. "Abutbul has asked me to be his lawyer," he said Abutbul faces 24 charges, including leading a crime organization and making threats as part of extortion attempts. "There are no violent charges against him," Zichroni said. "I am examining the material now, and will decide by Wednesday." Abutbul "is in shock" following his lawyer's sudden, violent death, Zichroni said. Hacham's murder is a major blow to Abutbul's interests; the lawyer was expert in getting charges against alleged crime bosses reduced. Hacham represented figures, including Abutbul, who were reportedly on opposite sides of a long-standing mafia war; in recent years, the Alperon and Abergeil families allegedly teamed up in a bid to control gambling and other illegal activities. They were opposed by Ze'ev Rosenstein (now in Ayalon Prison), who allied with the Abutbul family. A series of bombs, shootings and LAW missiles killed several people during the feud. "Assassinations through bombings are not uncommon," former Israel Police head of investigations Cmdr. (ret.) Moshe Mizrahi said Sunday. "Intelligence is the key word here," he added. "If this murder is a result of an open confrontation, the information will flow. But if there is a hidden, or personal motive, such as 'honor,' then it will be very difficult to get hold of a lead. "The police have some very intensive work ahead of them. They must assemble a picture of the victim's life history. They will be examining the millionaire direction, but apparent leads are not always the right ones. Still, police will need to examine every lead to either eliminate it or follow it up further," Mizrahi said.