Bank Embezzler Etti Alon Wins Early Release

Former Trade Bank official has served 12 years of a 17-year sentence for stealing $50 million to pay her brother’s gambling debts.

Yaniv Kubovich
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Eti Alon in court at the time of her conviction, in 2003. Her actions gave the police insight into a huge source of funding for organized crime.Credit: Ariel Schalit
Yaniv Kubovich

Etti Alon, the former Trade Bank official whose enormous embezzlement from the institution in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to its collapse, is slated to be released from prison after the parole board of the Israel Prison Service agreed yesterday to reduce her sentence by one-third.

Alon, who stole some 254 million shekels (around $50 million at 2003 exchange rates) from the bank over five years in order to pay her brother’s gambling debts, was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

In addition to precipitating the bank’s collapse, Alon’s actions gave the police insight into a huge source of funding for organized crime of which they were not previously aware.

The state has said that it may appeal the decision and her release has been delayed by a week.

Alon’s lawyer, Shani Illouz, said there was a good chance that Alon would be released, based on remarks by the parole board dating back to May 2013. Although her parole request was denied then, the board said Alon had “undergone a very meaningful process of rehabilitation in prison, expressed regret and actively participated in both her own rehabilitation process and that of other prisoners.”

But the board said Alon would have to serve out at least the first two-thirds of her sentence, and that to release her earlier would undermine the public trust.

Alon confessed to embezzling the funds to cover loans her brother, Ofer Maximov, had taken from gray-market lenders. Maximov received a 15-year sentence. Their father, Avigdor Maximov, was sentenced to six years in prison. He died shortly after being released in 2007.