Ben-Gurion Airport Duty free
The duty-free concourse at Ben-Gurion Airport. Photo by Dan Keinan
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The Israel Tax Authority is on the verge of shutting down two duty-free stores at Ben-Gurion International Airport and revoking their licenses to sell duty-free goods.

The owners of the Sakal-Stern store that sells watches and a branch of the Michal Negrin fashion chain were invited by the Tax Authority for a hearing in two weeks, after an undercover investigation uncovered suspicions that the stores were illegally selling goods to customers without passports and boarding passes. Duty-free stores are only allowed to sell to customers leaving the country, and with proof they are on their way overseas.

The taxman closed the two stores down Sunday evening but allowed them to reopen yesterday, and the stores will be allowed to remain open at least until the hearing.

This was not the first time a duty-free store was closed by the Tax Authority: The BUG computer and electronics store in the airport was shut down for similar reasons in the past.

The Michal Negrin company said they were cooperating with authorities and would follow any rulings on the matter.

Stern said there is no reason for the store to be closed and was sure the Tax Authority will be convinced there was no justification for such a closure. Stern stated it is in no way connected to the H. Stern jewelry store chain.