Yona: I fear for my life if I return to Israel

Justice Ministry considering accusing Heftsiba owner of grand larceny in aggravated circumstances, false registration in company documents and other crimes.

Boaz Yona 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Boaz Yona 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Boaz Yona, the owner of Heftsiba construction who was arrested for illegal activity which brought about the company's collapse, said during his court appearance in Italy that he doesn't want to be extradited to Israel because he fears for his life. "I don't want to return to Israel at this moment, as I fear for my life and the lives of my family because of 'bad people' from the grey market who lent me money," Boaz said during a hearing in Venice. In its request to Italian authorities to extradite Yona, the Justice Ministry said it is considering accusing him of grand larceny in aggravated circumstances, false registration in company documents and other crimes, a Justice Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Israel has 40 days to submit the extradition request from the day that Yona was arrested late Thursday evening. Yona is currently incarcerated in the Venice jail where he will reportedly remain during the extradition proceedings. 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. Yona's lawyer, Ya'ir Golan, told Israel Radio that his client would be brought before a judge in Venice on Tuesday and remanded in custody for the time it will take for Israel to request his extradition. Golan claimed that Yona had left Israel not to smuggle money out of the country but to bring it back to help salvage the company. Meanwhile, he continued, "the family and the companies are making realistic proposals which could help repair much of the damage that has occurred and find realistic solutions." In contrast to the opinion expressed by many commentators and businessmen in Israel, Golan said the collapse of the company had been sudden and unexpected. He also said it might take time for the extradition procedure to unfold. It was possible that before agreeing to release him into Israeli custody, the Italian authorities might want to see whether he had committed crimes on its soil.