Israel's Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal to overturn a decision to extradite senior mob figures Yitzhak and Meir Abergil to the United States as per a criminal indictment that was served against them two years ago as part of a racketeering investigation.
The Supreme Court ruled that it had no grounds to overturn the Jerusalem District Court's July 2009 approval of the state's extradition request.
Israeli authorities will also extradite three additional suspected criminals - Sason Barashi, Moshe Malul, and Yisrael Ozifa - implicated in the Abergil investigation. The U.S. has promised that if the five are found guilty, they will not receive the death penalty for murder.
Prosecutors allege that the Abergils conspired with Malul to arrange for the murder of a known drug dealer, Sami Atias, in Los Angeles. The Abergil brothers are also alleged to have extorted money from Chai Vaknin and his brother, Asi Vaknin, a former partner in the Roberto modeling agency, in a scheme to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars embezzled from a bank.
American authorities allege that Asi Vaknin lost upwards of one million dollars in failed stock investments.
Malul, who heads the so-called "Malul Brothers" crime syndicate, is suspected of smuggling ecstasy into the U.S. Malul is alleged to have sought revenge against Atias, who tried to steal quantities of ecstasy. Atias, however, belonged to a Jerusalem-based mob allied with the Abergils.
Through an intermediary, Malul sought Yitzhak Abergil's approval to kill Atias, according to authorities. After mulling the proposal, Abergil gave the go-ahead.
The extradition request was based on hundreds of hours of statements given by witnesses and federal agents, wiretaps, and surveillance of the Abergil crime syndicate and its activities in the U.S.
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