Six arrested in major laundering, extortion case linked to Israeli soccer

Six more detained for questioning, homes searched, as undercover investigation turns public; suspects said to have defrauded victims of hundreds of millions of shekels

Illustrative. A person being arrested. (BrianAJackson via iStock by Getty images)
Illustrative. A person being arrested. (BrianAJackson via iStock by Getty images)

Six people were arrested Monday and six more detained for questioning in a major money laundering and extortion case linked to Israeli soccer.

Police revealed few details in the case, which has been pursued in secrecy until Monday morning’s arrests, but an unconfirmed report in Hebrew-language outlets indicated that one of the suspects is an owner of an Israeli soccer team.

The suspects are believed to have defrauded investors in real estate transactions, among other businesses, of hundreds of millions of shekels, according to reports.

The charges in the case, which has ensnared attorneys and businesspeople, include aggravated fraud, criminal conspiracy, extortion, income tax crimes, and money laundering.

The investigation is being conducted by the National Unit for Investigations of Serious and International Crimes, part of the Israel Police’s flagship anti-corruption investigative unit Lahav 433, as well as the Tax Authority’s Yahalom investigative arm.

In a brief statement Monday, police said the suspects allegedly worked together to carry out tax fraud and money laundering, using legitimate corporations to mask the criminal activity. The suspects’ homes and several foreign-currency trading businesses were searched as part of the arrest sweep.

The suspects were all taken to remand hearings at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Monday afternoon.

Police also announced on Monday two arrests in a separate money laundering case, but offered few details.

The investigation, also led by Lahav 433 and Yahalom, concerns money laundering and fraud suspicions on the part of two men, and involves illegal shipments of funds overseas.

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