State Witness Recants in Probe of Musseli Crime Family'

Roni Singer-Heruti
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Roni Singer-Heruti

One of two state's witnesses in the Musseli affair has recanted and is unwilling to testify against the crime family. A bail hearing was held yesterday for the witness, known as the Musseli organization's "engineer," in Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court.

During the hearing, his lawyers said the man was withdrawing his agreement to testify and claimed he had given false testimony. The witness charged that he spoke to the police under threats and duress.

An officer with the Tel Aviv District central unit yesterday confirmed "the witness has in fact shown signs recently of recanting. We feel assured that even if he does recant, we will be able to use his prior testimony in court. Without an agreement with us, he will be left with no monetary compensation, and the rest of the suspects know he talked to the police."

Police sources said yesterday the entire interrogation was documented, and the court could judge whether there was undue pressure. The witness was ordered held without bail for another five days.

A bail hearing was also held yesterday for the other state's witness in the affair, the lawyer suspected of being Yossi Musseli's business partner. The lawyer's testimony led Tel Aviv police to a great deal of evidence against the group of suspects, who, the police believe, are members of a crime organization involved in murder, attempted murder, weapons trafficking and money laundering.

The court also ordered held without bail the purported head of the organization, Yossi Musseli, his brother Eli, and the alleged head of another crime organization in northern Israel, Hani Jerby.

The prosecution plans to file indictments against the suspects next week.

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