Yona's plea bargain: 7-years in jail

'Eichmann treated better than me,' Heftsiba CEO says after being extradited to Israel from Italy.

boaz yona 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
boaz yona 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Boaz Yona will be sentenced to seven years in jail and pay compensation of NIS 4 million to clients who purchased homes from his building company, Heftsiba, according to a plea bargain announced on Monday night by the state prosecution. Earlier in the day Yona arrived back in Israel after being extradited from Italy. According to the agreement, he will cooperate with his police interrogators and with Attorney Yitzhak Molcho who was appointed special manager by Jerusalem District Court to administer the company for the time being. The agreement was signed by Yona and his lawyer, Ya'ir Golan, and by the Economic Section of the State Attorney's Office and the taxation and economic prosecution's office. At the end of Yona's interrogation, the prosecution will file an indictment against him. The wording of the indictment will be part of the plea bargain and Yona will plead guilty to the charges. Yona will be remanded in custody until the end of the legal proceedings. According to the agreement, the NIS 4 million in compensation will be given to Molcho. The money will be raised by Yona's friends and will not be counted as part of the Heftsiba property that the special manager is administering. The state prosecution said it had decided not to levy a fine on Yona but to have him pay compensation to the victims of the company's collapse. Yona will plead guilty not only to his responsibility for the collapse of Heftsiba but also for "a long list of serious crimes which he committed during his running of Heftsiba over a period of many years," the Justice Ministry said in a statement to the press. According to the statement, the plea bargain imposed a "substantial" punishment including a substantial period of time behind bars as well as an agreed-upon financial compensation. The statement also said that because the punishment will be handed down close to the time of the crimes that Yona committed, it will serve as a deterrent to others. The fact that Yona had promised to cooperate with Molcho may also be of great help in reaching a final settlement with Heftsiba's creditors. Heftsiba collapsed at the beginning of August, 2007. Even before police began to investigate the affair, Yona fled from Israel. He spent a few days in Romania and then flew to Milan, Italy. On August 22, the police issued an international warrant for his arrest and he was picked up by Israeli police near Verona on August 30. On October 3, Israel asked the Italian authorities to extradite Yona. Upon his return Monday afternoon, Yona was driven directly the National Fraud Unit's Bat Yam headquarters. On the flight back from Italy, Yona unleashed a verbal attack on the Israeli press before the television camera, accusing the media of "lynching" him. "I've been treated worse than [executed senior Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. I've never stolen a thing. I did everything so that the tenants could receive the homes," he said. Yona appeared to be in poor physical condition, with cigarette burns appearing on his hands, reportedly suffered during his stay in the Italian prison. "The lynch was the most difficult thing. The media wants to finish me off and turn me into a thief. I am going to clear my name and father's name; there was a blunder here. The fact is, tenants don't have homes, but my suffering was greater than that of the tenants," he added. Yona addressed the alleged threats he and his family have received, saying, "I only fear God. I did not run away. No one built more than me in Israel. You can check that."