Mob Boss Arrested Upon Landing in Israel

Magistrate’s court judge describes charges against crime kingpin Michael Mor, who spent almost the past two years abroad, as 'a genetic clone' of a previous investigation.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
Michael Mor, second from left, at his remand hearing on Tuesday.
Michael Mor, second from left, at his remand hearing on Tuesday.Credit: Tomer Applebaum
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

A man described by police as the crime kingpin of northern Israel was arrested Monday at Ben-Gurion Airport immediately after landing in Israel from Bucharest.

Michael Mor, who has spent the better part of the past two years outside the country, mostly in South Africa and Thailand, had not bothered to keep his return a secret and most of his associates knew he was coming back.

He was arrested by members of the police Major and International Crimes Unit and subsequently remanded in custody by the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court.

Police told the court at the remand hearing that Mor was suspected of threatening the owners of a national league soccer team in the north to get them to release a player to play in a club Mor owns. According to police, the player owed Mor money and the latter wanted the player to pay the debt by playing for his club.

Mor is also suspected of tax evasion and of using a currency exchange business, owned either by himself or a relative, as a front for money-laundering.

Despite the police’s request for a remand period of eight days, the judge remanded Mor for one day only. He criticized the charges presented by the police, calling the current investigation “a genetic clone of the old investigation from 2011.” It was unclear what the police had been doing with the case in the interim, the judge said.

Mor left the country legally, with no outstanding arrest warrant against him at the time.

Meanwhile, another reputed crime boss, Moti Hassin, returned to Israel yesterday after what was described as a vacation in Bulgaria. The state prosecutor’s office had feared that Hassin had fled the country after the state appealed his recent acquittal on murder charges.

However, Hassin said on his return that he was not afraid of the appeal and had not thought for a moment of fleeing the country. His attorneys and associates said from the start that he would return to Israel as soon as an appeal was filed.

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