Court to Rule on State’s Appeal Against Etti Alon’s Early Release

Former Trade Bank employee, who embezzled over $60m, will remain behind bars until Feb. 3 hearing.

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
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Etti Alon in court in 2002.Credit: Lior Mizrahi / Baubau
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

The Central District Court will rule on February 3 on the state prosecution’s appeal against the early release from prison of Etti Alon, who embezzled over 250 million shekels from the Trade Bank and caused its collapse in the early 2000s.

Until that date, Alon, who was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment in 2003, will remain in prison.

Last week the Israel Prisons Service parole board agreed to Alon’s request to have her sentence reduced by one-third, over the prosecutions’ objections. During a hearing on its appeal Sunday, the prosecution reiterated its objections to her release, based primarily on the fact that she had not paid the 5 million shekel fine imposed on her and instead declared personal bankruptcy; that being the case, she had not yet paid her debt to society.

The prosecutor also noted that the Trade Bank money she had stolen, which was used to cover her brother’s grey market loans and gambling debts, provided funding to organized crime groups that are using the money to this day.

“Ultimately,” the prosecutor’s appeal stated, “the total sum of the theft is astronomical and almost inconceivable, estimated at more than 254,199,600 shekels [$64 million at today’s exchange rate].”

A prison director’s report from August 2014 noted that Alon had been a prisoner in the rehabilitation wing of the Neveh Tirza women’s prison for about three years, was employed at a printing plant in Holon, had enjoyed a series of furloughs and experienced no disciplinary problems.

A psychological evaluation found that she acknowledged her offenses and expressed remorse for what she had done.

“She attributes her conduct to what began as a desire to protect her brother, and progressed to surrender and an inability to resist,” the psychological report said, adding, “It doesn’t seem as if she had adapted criminal patterns.”