Police arrest 9 Arabs, confiscate millions in money laundering bust

Police step up battle against organized crime in the Arab sector.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Police forces who raided the Arab town of Kafr Manda in northern Israel on Tuesday morning arrested nine suspects and confiscated millions in an operation to take down a money-laundering ring.

Over the past months, the police’s Lahav 433 economic division has conducted an undercover investigation, on suspicion of tax offenses committed by the ring amounting to tens of millions of shekels through the distribution of fictitious invoices and straw companies.

With the move to an open investigation, police and other Israeli tax and finance officials raided on Tuesday morning 14 homes and businesses of the suspects to make arrests and conduct searches.

According to the suspicion, some of the suspects were engaged in the cashing in of checks through currency change businesses and opened straw companies, which were allegedly used to commit offenses of distributing fictitious invoices and money laundering.

During the operation, the Electric Company, the Ministry of Health, and civilian income tax officials acted against criminal-linked businesses in the town that acted in violation of the law.

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A total of nine suspects were arrested and five more were detained, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud in aggravated circumstances, money laundering offenses, and income tax offense.

As part of the operation, Israeli authorities froze bank accounts, the currency change businesses were closed, and real estate and 17 luxury vehicles worth tens of millions of shekels were seized, in addition to cash. The police intend to conduct a forfeiture procedure regarding the seized property.

The Israel Police has stepped up its battle against organized crime in the Arab-Israeli sector, which has been suffering from a mounting crime wave and a state of lawlessness and violence in recent years.

Combined with its fight against violent crimes, the police are also hitting the crime gangs and clans financially and exposing and shutting down the operations through which they maintain their illegal finances.