Suspicions are hardening against diamond dealer Hanan Abramovich, suspected of forgery and fraud totaling $60 million, Tel Aviv Magistrates Court Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz today said in extending Abramovich's remand for the fifth time, this time by four days.
"The array of documents submitted to the Court and a confidential report filed by the police put the reasonable suspicion concerning the crimes attributed to the suspect, which include other crimes besides fraud (of which he was initially suspected, including forgery and money laundering, G.M.) on a firmer basis."
At the same time, Poznanski-Katz used cautious language in her ruling, saying, "Abramovich's claims of being ensnared in a business entanglement that caused his inability to meet his financial obligations should also be checked; it cannot be dismissed as groundless."
Whether a deliberate swindle or a business failure (possibly also accompanied by allegedly criminal acts, G.M.) was involved, today's hearing exposed for the first time the name of one of the main victims of the Abramovich affair - well-known diamond dealer Amos Fozailoff, a member of one of Israel's largest and most widely recognized diamond dealing families. According to the police representative at the hearing, Abramovich made off with merchandise worth $38 million from Fozailoff, most of what Abramovich received on consignment.
Abramovich said that he had repaid $17 million, some of his debts, last October, including $918,000 to Fozailoff. The police said that as of now, it had no evidence of such a payment.
"Of course he was angry"
As it did with most of the creditors making complaints against Abramovich, the police staged a confrontation in recent days between Fozailoff and Abramovich. In today's hearing, in cross examining the policy representative, Abramovich's lawyer, Adv. Adi Carmeli, asked him, "Confirm that during the confrontation, Fozailoff was angry at Abramovich because he gave Fozailoff only $918,000 of the $17.5 million he distributed to his creditors on the Diamond Exchange." The police representative answered, "Nothing of the kind. He was certainly angry at him, because when you swindle someone out of $38 million, he's going to be angry."
In summing up the hearing, state representative Adv. Offer Klein said the investigation would pick up speed in the coming days, and had already disproved Abramovich's story that only a simple case of bankruptcy was involved.
Klein added that a factual basis had been established for additional crimes committed by Abramovich, including forgery and money laundering. "We have not yet received the full details from the banks, which did not work during the Passover holiday," he said. "We do know that according to the documents, in October 2015, $17 million entered the suspect's bank account." The police have not yet ascertained what was done with this money.
Concerning the millions that entered Abramovich's bank account last October, Judge Poznanski-Katz ruled that this weakened his claim that he was already bankrupt in October. She instructed the police, however, to check Abramovich's claim that the money had been used to pay debts to his creditors (creditors who did not file complaints in the affair), and added, "This claim has weight in the overall picture of the case before us."
The judge extended Abramovich's remand again on the basis of a reasonable suspicion that he had committed the acts attributed to him. She added that if he were to be released, there would be concern that he would obstruct the investigation the police were trying to carry out.
"The police are making great efforts to carry out the many actions required in the investigation, despite the fact that the suspect has been under arrest for 12 days. The remand extension has been given, however, sparingly and under the Court's close supervision," the judge noted.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 1, 2016
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