Israeli said murdered in Ecuador jail; tied to ex-leader’s alleged COVID-19 scam

Shy Dahan had a history of multiple allegations of international fraud, had escaped a Panama prison two years ago; was arrested in June on suspicion of peddling fake virus tests

Shy Dahan (Courtesy)
Shy Dahan (Courtesy)

An Israeli man jailed in Ecuador was found dead in his cell Saturday, apparently the victim of an attack by other inmates, according to local media reports.

Shy Dahan had been held at the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil since June, when he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a scheme involving the sale of medical supplies and fake coronavirus tests. He had previously escaped a prison in Panama.

Attorney Hector Vanegas confirmed on Twitter that Dahan had been found dead. Another Israeli man, identified as Oren Sheinman who was in the cell with Dahan, also suffered injuries.

Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that the two were attacked with hammers and knives. A statement from the Ecuadorean prison service said it was investigating the death.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that one Israeli was killed and one lightly injured. It said local authorities were investigating

Dahan had escaped from a prison in Panama in 2018, where he was being held over accusations of massive fraud, including selling the same property several times to different buyers.

In June, he was arrested in Ecuador along with Sheinman when they were caught with a large amount of money and allegedly false documentation, according to press reports.

According to Vanegas, who represents Sheinman, the two were accused of selling the medical supplies to former politician Jacob Bucaram and had been cooperating with investigators. Bucaram and several of his relatives, including his father Abdala Bucaram, a former president of Ecuador, are being probed for illegally selling pharmaceuticals during the pandemic.

“There is a mafia that is ready to do anything so that its actions go unpunished,” Vanegas said on Twitter.

According to ElUniverso, the two had been set for transfer to a more secure prison before the attack took place.

Abdala Bucaram tweeted that he was worried the assailants would come after his family next.

He said he had spoken to “one of the Israelis,” who told him there were threats on his life and asked if they were coming from the Bucarams.

“I told him it was not us, it was the government trying to involve my family.  That was never our way. We live under state terrorism.”

Dahan, who also went by the last names of Alalouf and Golan, was well known in Jewish circles in Panama City. He dealt in real estate, ran stalls in malls, and had a reputation as a gambler, according to reports. He fled the country to escape charges of fraud but was extradited back to Panama from Spain in 2018. Months later he escaped prison after reportedly bribing officials at the jail to the tune of $500,000.

He had a long history of fraud, according to reports. In 2014 he appeared in court in London and was charged with fraudulently claiming to be a real estate tycoon with liquid assets of £1 million. The deception was uncovered after he racked up £230,000 of gambling debts in a high-rolling casino.

In 2009 he was wanted in the US and Canada for embezzlement and fraud, with police in Los Angeles issuing a warning to the public to beware of him.

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