The security officer of real estate and construction company Shikun & Binui Holdings Ltd. (TASE: SKBN) has been questioned over suspicions of fraud and money laundering offenses in the protection money affair in the south of Israel that broke yesterday. The officer was detained yesterday morning and questioned until the evening at the Israel Police Lahav 433 fraud unit, before being released to house arrest for five days.
Shikun & Binui Holdings reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday evening that its security officer had been detained and released to house arrest. The company's notification stated: "The company has not been informed of any connection to its activity. A subsidiary of the company has been required to produce documents in connection with the matters under investigation, which involve third parties unconnected to the company, and to deposit any sum of money that it might owe to those under investigation in the state forfeiture fund."
The affair broke yesterday morning with the arrest of thirteen suspects, most of them managers of security companies. Among those under arrest is the owner of a construction company and his son, who acts as legal counsel to the company. The company owner's cousin has been arrested in France in connection with the affair.
The investigation, which began in 2018, is being conducted by the Israel Police and the Israel Tax Authority. The suspicion is of taxation and money laundering offenses to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels. Among the suspected offenses is collection of large sums of protection money from construction companies. The affair involves large and well-known construction companies in Israel such as Shikun & Binui and Electra.
The Rishon LeZion Magistrates Court extended the remand of those arrested yesterday. The police alleged in court that for years fictitious invoices had been issued amounting to millions of shekels that had severely harmed tax revenues, and that serious offenses involving fraud, threats and tax evasion had been committed.
Adv. Yaron London, who represents the Shikun & Binui security officer, said, "After I talked with my client and realized what the case was about, I can say that he acted lawfully and impeccably. He has no connection to the alleged offenses by the security companies." Lawyers for the security company owner said that he had no criminal record and had cooperated fully with the investigation.
All those detained and questioned in the affair are entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 9, 2021
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