Crime Boss' Wife Suspected of Helping Hide Missing Body

Remand of Karine Abutbul, wife of Asi Abutbul, extended four days, while search continues for body of criminal murdered 17 years ago

Karine Abutbul, the wife of crime boss Asi Abutbul, in court on May 28, 2017.
Ilan Assayag

Israel Police on Sunday arrested Karine Abutbul, the wife of crime boss Asi Abutbul, on suspicion that she helped hide the body of criminal Moshe Hadas 17 years ago.

The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended her remand through Thursday, while a search is being conducted in Netanya for the corpse.

In speaking about the Hadas case last week, the head of the police investigations and intelligence department, Meni Yitzhaki, said that “it’s a long process with a lot of work, but as far as we’re concerned every unsolved murder case is still open, including this case.”

A gag order was lifted last week revealing that Abutbul is the crime boss suspected of murdering his attorney Yoram Hacham. The police also arrested two other suspects in the case: Nahshon Gov, who is known to the police, and Mickey Turjeman, who worked in recent years as a kindergarten assistant in Netanya. The remand of the three was extended 13 days.

Judge Amit Michles stressed the current suspicion “is based on new investigative material.” Asi Abutbul was first arrested in June 2015 on suspicion of being involved in Hacham’s murder, following information tying him and his brother Francois to the case. However the evidence was insufficient to proceed with the investigation, Abutbul was released and the police Lahav 433 unit, known as the Israeli FBI, stopped dealing with the case.

Hacham was the attorney for several underworld leaders. In his last court case before being killed, Hacham represented Abutbul, who was convicted. Police intelligence suggested the two had a falling out about Abutbul’s legal representation. Abutbul claimed he wasn’t receiving the proper attention despite the high fees he was paying Hacham. Also, Hacham objected to Abutbul’s demand to remain in custody and run his business from there or to flee from Israel.