Top Israeli singer pleads guilty to using mobsters for extortion
Margalit Tzan'ani was accused by police of asking crime figures to collect a debt from her manager and of trying to influence the outcome of the vote on 'A Star is Born.'
Prominent Israeli singer Margalit Tzan'ani pleaded guilty on Sunday to extorting her manager, and is expected to be sentenced to several months of community service. The plea bargain was presented to the Tel Aviv District Court.
Known criminal Michael Hazan, who carried out the extortions, is expected to serve up to a year in prison.
Tzan’ani was accused by police of asking crime figures associated with the Amir Mullner crime family to collect a debt for her from Asaf Atadagi, her manager. Atadagi is also the manager for singer Omer Adam, and Tzan'ani is believed to have thought she deserved a commission for Adam's success.
Tzan'ani was also suspected of influencing the outcome of the vote on "A Star is Born" - the Keshet TV talent show on which she serves as a judge. In the plea bargain, she also admitted to assisting Hazan and his associates to set up a talent management company for “A Star is Born” graduates, and to sending a coded message to Hazan’s friend Sagiv Thierry.
"I did not approach crime figures, that's not my way," Tzan'ani told investigators when she was arrested last August . She added that she and Atadagi were in disagreement over money, but that she had not involved the crime family.
Tzan'ani, 57, is of the most powerful women in the Israeli Mediterranean music scene.
Her first album, "Na'ari Shuva Eli" ("My Boy, Come Back to Me") came out in 1985 when she was 32. Since then, she has released 15 more solo albums.