Moshe Hogeg, owner of the Beitar Jerusalem football club, was arrested this morning on suspicion of having taken part in a huge cryptocurrency fraud, together with seven other suspects. In addition, in the course of the investigation, further suspicions arose that Hogeg had committed sexual offences. One of the suspicions being examined is trafficking in women. The Rishon LeZion Magistrates Court lifted a gag order on naming Hogeg this afternoon.
According to the statement by the Israel Police, the suspects, each according to his share, pocketed tens of millions of shekels, while making false presentations to potential investors to induce them to invest in apparently profitable ventures. The investigation so far has given rise to suspicions of fraudulent receiving, theft by a company officer, conspiracy to commit a crime, offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Law, and offences under the Tax Ordinance.
The reason for the recent wave of investigations of cryptocurrency players is the fact that the Israel Tax Authority, together with other enforcement agencies, such as the police and the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, have marked down the cryptocurrency market and holders of virtual currencies as main enforcement targets.
"We have given the campaign against tax evasion and other taxation offences high priority, and we have reinforced intelligence gathering, enforcement and collection in this area. The fight on this front is being waged with enhanced and focused enforcement means, intelligence gathering, use of advanced technology, and special training," a Tax Authority source said.
"Cryptocurrencies aren't 100% anonymous as people think. The Authority will reach anyone who doesn't report and doesn't pay tax. What we are seeing now, the affair currently under investigation which has gone from the covert to the overt stage, and other recent investigations, is the product of the first wave of enforcement. There will soon be more waves and arrests of criminals operating in the cryptocurrency arena," the source added.
Presumption of innocence: Moshe Hogeg and the other people questioned in this case are suspects only, have not been convicted of any crime, and are entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 18, 2021.
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