Israeli police arrest head of ‘Russian mafia’

Michael Tansky allegedly sought to take over Ashkelon and Ashdod.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Israeli police arrested a high level figure in the “Russian mafia” on Monday after a confidant of the boss turned informant. Michael Tansky’s crime organization was described by police as one of the most influential in Israel.

A police statement said the operation against Tansky took three months and was made possible when someone in his inner circle turned informant. This informant incriminated the 38-year-old Tansky and his associates on the crime organization’s activities in Ashdod, Ramle and a number of Bedouin villages in southern Israel.

“Michael Tansky is one of the most dangerous and violent criminals in Israel, who founded a Russian mafia … and was involved in serious extortion and drug trafficking crimes worth millions of shekels,” a senior police officer told Channel 12.

“Tansky did not know that the man closest to him was our undercover agent who worked with us and passed along information 24 hours a day about what was going on in his organization… He was complacent and arrogant and did not understand we knew everything,” the officer added.

Police offered the informant, who was coded-named Nikita, a way out of his crime life in exchange for help in apprehending Tansky.

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Police raids on the homes of Tansky and his associates turned up illegal weapons and large quantities of drugs.

Channel 12 reported that Tansky and sought to take over Ashkelon and Ashdod, spreading fear by throwing grenades and opening fire on the homes of rivals and extorting businesses and residents for millions of shekels. He is also said to have abducted a young woman related to one of his associates and holding her for a ransom of NIS 500,000.

Tansky, along with 16 members of his organization and brought before the Ashkelon Magistrates Court. The court extended a remand on his custody by nine days.