Family of Woman Killed in Botched Bat Yam Hit Sues Police for Negligence

Margarita Lautin was an innocent bystander in 2008 hit by crime figures; now her husband is suing the police.

A man whose wife was killed in a botched underworld hit on the Bat Yam beach in July 2008 is preparing a negligence suit against the police for millions of shekels, Haaretz learned yesterday.

Alex and Margarita Lautin and their two children were on the Bat Yam beach when Margarita was hit by a bullet fired by one gangster at another.

Lautin intends to charge the police with failing to prevent the murder although police officers were on the beach at the time and witnessed the homicide.

He will also argue that police mishandling of mob bosses Meir and Yitzhak Abergil's extradition to the United States made his wife's killing possible.

Lautin's suit is being handled by attorney Yaakov Weinroth and his main witness will be Commander (ret.) Simon Perry, who served in key intelligence and investigations positions in the police force.

Perry is expected to testify that had the police top brass not delayed the extradition of the Abergil brothers to the United States as a result of power struggles and intrigues, Lautin's death could have been avoided.

A hit man from the Abergil crime family was sent to whack Rami Amira, who was planning to leave the Abergils and set up on his own. Amira was sitting on the beach beside Motti Hasin, Abergil's assistant, and the bullet intended for him accidentally hit Margarita Lautin.

Police officers who were on the beach arrested two suspects.

On Tuesday this week the prosecution said it was working on a plea bargain with the two, who were charged with murder. The primary defendant, Ronen Ben-Adi, will confess to the homicide and be sentenced to life imprisonment under the deal. The other defendant, Shimon Sabah, who was supposed to get Ben-Adi off the beach after the shooting, will be sentenced to a seven-year term.

The deal will be submitted to the Tel Aviv District Court for approval at the end of the month.

Perry, who set up the police's intelligence gathering apparatus abroad, served as Israel Police representative in Europe and in the years 2003-2007 as Israel Police attache in the United States and Canada.

He filed a complaint to the state comptroller two years ago about severe police shortcomings in the Abergils' extradition case.

Perry complained that due to internal intrigues in the police investigations and intelligence section, then headed by Commander Yohanan Danino, the police failed to assist the American law enforcement authorities. That assistance could have expedited the extradition, he said.

Lautin's suit is expected to end with a compromise before reaching court, to protect intelligence sources and spare the police embarrassing testimonies such as Perry's, Haaretz has learned.

Weinroth's office confirmed yesterday that the attorney was representing Lautin pro bono.

"Perry's allegations are groundless and can only be regretted," a police spokesman said. "The police's achievements in fighting organized crime speak for themselves."

The Abergils' extradition was the result of strenuous, professional and complex investigation by the Israeli and U.S. authorities, police said.