Police to indict four reputed mobsters

Police say indictments, which include Abergil family head Moti Hassin, are "a major blow to organized crime."

arrest  311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
arrest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
In what they are calling a “major blow to Israeli organized crime,” police and prosecutors have prepared an indictment against four underworld figures, including reputed senior Abergil crime family member Moti Hassin, in connection to a pair of gangland hits carried out in the Tel Aviv area in the past two years.
Officers from the special YAMAR investigative unit announced the arrests on Sunday, adding that by Monday they will present a series of indictments against Hassin and his alleged accomplices Shlomi Niamchuk, Ofir Niamchuk and Yitzhak Zerbi.
The cases in question include the killings of Avi David, shot dead at point-blank range by a motorcyclist outside a Bat Yam steakhouse last October; and Itzik Geffen, who died in a hail of gunfire at a gas station next to Wolfson Hospital in Holon two months later.
Police described the arrests as part of a unique “topdown” case, which focused on those who plotted the killings rather than the actual trigger men.
In a press conference held at police headquarters in Tel Aviv on Sunday, officers said the main motive for the killings was Geffen and David’s intention to join a rival crime family.
Head of the investigative branch of YAMAR Tel Aviv officer Nir Shwartz said the most crucial aspect of the case is that the authorities “were able to put [their] hands not on the one who pulled the trigger but the one who planned the murders and sent the killers.”
Shwartz said Hassin placed himself at the scene of David’s murder in order to make it appear that he was a target as well, but by doing so he in fact led police to look at him as a central suspect. Police reportedly have surveillance camera footage from the restaurant showing Hassin sitting at a table with David shortly before the murder.
YAMAR Tel Aviv District Commander Gadi Eshed said Sunday that he believes the indictments will have a great effect on increasing the public’s feeling of security, due to the fact that both incidents happened in public places and in both instances innocent bystanders could have easily been killed.
Hassin’s lawyer, Moshe Suchmi, laughed off the police allegations Sunday, saying that there was no evidence against his client and the police held the press conference only for the purpose of public relations.
“They say they don’t know who fired the shots; they have no evidence whatsoever against my client. This is just one more attempt by the police to attach an unsolved murder case to Moti,” Suchmi said, adding that “it would be funny if it wasn’t sad.”
Police believe Hassin took the reins of the Abergil family after Itzik Abergil and his brother Meir were extradited to the US in early 2011 on a litany of drug and violent crime charges. While Itzik remains incarcerated in the US awaiting trial, Meir was freed and returned to Israel in August 2011. Police believe that the murders were carried out by Hassin partly as a means of establishing his position as the new leader of the crime family and a force to be reckoned with.