Movement for Quality Gov't calls for criminal probe of MK Inbal Gavrieli
Police arrest father, uncle and cousin of MK Gavrieli on charges of money laundering and tax evasion; Labor's Yachimovich accuses Olmert of underworld ties.
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel called on Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Monday to open a criminal investigation into MK Inbal Gavrieli after she made use of her parliamentary immunity to prevent police from searching father's home.
Police suspect the Gavrielis, Meir Abergil - who was also arrested - and other criminal figures were operating an internet cafe franchise, using the cafes for illegal gambling and laundering of profits, as well as tax evasion. Police were unable to search her father's residence, because MK Gavrieli, whose post grants her immunity, is staying there temporarily.
MK Gavrieli refused to comment, Israel Radio reported.
Yachimovitch: Olmert has criminal tiesIn a related development, senior Labor candidate Shelly Yachimovitch said Monday that Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ties to major criminal figures.
Yachimovitch made the accusation following the announcement Monday of the arrest of Reuven Gavrieli, father of Likud MK Inbal Gavrieli, his brother Ezra "Shoni" Gavrieli and Shoni's son, Shlomi, were arrested last week on charges of illegal gambling, money laundering and tax fraud.
Yachimovitch said Olmert and Shoni Gavrieli have longstanding and close ties, dating back to donations Shoni made to Olmert's election campaign for mayor of Jerusalem.
Yachimovitch went on to say that "Attorney General [Menachem] Mazuz has reprimanded Olmert for showing bad judgement by meeting with Shoni."
Police on Gavrielis' trail since last yearPolice investigators learned of the Gavrieli brothers' alleged criminal activity following the bust of the so-called "Belarussian hit squad" last March, whose members are currently on trial for the attempted assassination of Shoni and crime boss Ya'akov Alperon.
The hit squad told police that their services were commissioned as part of a struggle for control over the illegal gambling racket in the Tel Aviv region.
Police investigators of the Tel Aviv District had initially thought the struggle was between two rival internet cafes in Hod Hasharon, but a joint investigation with customs authorities revealed the Gavrieli brothers and their associates are operating dozens of illegal gambling cafes across the country.
Police claim the suspects used Bet & Chat and daughter companies as covers, falsely listed as operating mostly abroad.
Chief Superintendent Gadi Eshed of the Tel Aviv district explained the profits "were circulated from Israel to abroad and back again, to be reported to Israeli tax authorities as profits from legitimate [overseas] businesses."
This is how the Gavrielis and their associates were able to turn a profit of tens of millions of shekels, police say.
Their arrest is the result of an investigation conducted over 18 months by the Tel Aviv District's Central Unit, the Israel Customs & VAT Investigations Unit and the Tax Authority's National Intelligence & Investigations Unit.
While Reuven Gavrieli admitted during questioning to having invested in the companies operating the gambling cafes, he said the enterprise yielded him no profits, and cost him heavy financial losses. His brother, Shoni, said the gambling servers were operating abroad, therefore no crime has been committed.
Police investigators, however, say they have substantial evidence that some of the servers used for gambling were in Israel and that the Gavrielis are guilty of money laundering and tax evasion regardless of where the servers were operating.
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