Israeli police arrested on Sunday a man suspected of killing a prominent Israeli real-estate developer last month as revenge after he had lost all of his money in a failed building project.
Daniel Keidar, a 64-year-old resident of Rishon Letzion, invested in one of Eldad Peri's projects, buying two apartments in the central city of Lod.
Peri was shot a month ago by a motorcyclist as he was leaving a synagogue. According to the police, he was killed by someone waiting for him in the parking lot, who fired several bullets at his upper torso from close range.
Keidar, who works as the information technology manager for a fruit and vegetable marketing company, denies all the accusations and says he was at home at the time of the murder. The police claim they have forensic evidence tying him to the scene of the crime and the murder.
Keidar’s lawyer, Sassy Gez, said during a court hearing in court that his client lost a great deal of money because of Peri’s death, so he had no interest in killing him.
“A normal person of 64 does not go out and murder, certainly not personally,” said Gez. “My client has no connection to the affair. He is the last person who would want the man to die. [Peri] was guarantor for him personally. It will turn out in this case that my client is innocent.”
A police representative said in the court hearing that the “strength of the reasonable suspicion at this stage is one of the highest that I remember,” and “there is significant evidence that ties him to the act,” including a pistol that Keidar had a license for, and which was seized in a search of his home.
- Israel Police arrests 65 suspects in 'biggest ever' weapons bust in Arab community
- Israeli property developer killed in gangland-style shooting
- Suspect confesses to Jerusalem murder of Haredi teen 30 years ago
The pistol is now undergoing ballistic testing, and it is not yet known whether it was the murder weapon. Keidar also owns a motorcycle.
Peri, 44, was one of Israel’s best-known property developers, and the owner of Peri Real Estate. Police believed that he was likely murdered over money he owed nonbank lenders racking up a personal debt of about 342 million shekels ($106 million), in addition to about 500 million shekels owed by his company. He faced a court-ordered bankruptcy proceeding.
Many customers claimed that the company stole hundreds of millions of shekels from them, including by collecting down payments on apartments that were already mortgaged and by depositing funds into a company account rather than the trust account, as required. A lawsuit against Peri disclosed the company’s enormous debt, exceeding 500 million shekels.
The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended Keidar’s detention for 10 days. Judge Tal Aner said there is “a significant suspicion at this stage,” and “the evidence ties the suspect in a clear way to the scene and murder, and is also a basis for a possible motive.”