Former Israeli Banker Who Embezzlement $65 Million Granted Early Release

Etti Alon was convicted in 2002 for mass embezzlement to cover her brother's gray market debts. Parole board postpones the review of the case of ex-judge Dan Cohen, convicted of bribery and fraud.

Sharon Pulwer
Sharon Pulwer
Etti Alon leaves Neveh Tirza Prison on August 4, 2016.
Etti Alon leaves Neveh Tirza Prison on August 4, 2016.Credit: Moti Milrod
Sharon Pulwer
Sharon Pulwer

The Prison Service parole board decided yesterday to commute the sentence of Etti Alon, a former banker convicted of embezzlement.

Alon left Neveh Tirza Prison after completing her release procedure later on in the day. She served 14 and a half years of her 17-year sentence.

In February the parole board rejected Alon’s request to commute her sentence, but suggested the sides agree to release her in six months’ time, a scenario that played out yesterday.

Alon started serving her sentence in April 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime and embezzling more than 250 million shekels ($65 million) from Trade Bank to cover her brother Ofer Maximov’s gray market gambling debts.

The parole board yesterday postponed discussing the parole request of former judge Dan Cohen.

Cohen was convicted of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstructing justice in 2013. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

The parole board said it postponed the review of his case for “technical” reasons and did not give a new date for the hearing.

Cohen was no longer a judge when the crimes in question were committed; rather, he was serving on the board of directors of the Israel Electric Corporation. In that capacity, he was convicted of taking a million euro bribe from Siemens in exchange for pushing the IEC to buy gas turbines from the German company.

When he realized he was wanted for questioning, he fled to Peru and stayed there for several years before being extradited to Israel. After being convicted and jailed, he received an unusual 60-day furlough to obtain treatment for cancer.

Cohen’s parole request is based in part on his medical condition and Channel 2 reported yesterday that the prosecution doesn’t intend to oppose it. Cohen’s attorney, Eitan Maoz, said that “by all the accepted criteria, Cohen deserves parole, and I’m convinced that’s what will happen.”

Aside from the bribery conviction, Cohen was found guilty on two other counts. One was fraud and breach of trust for failing to inform the IEC board of his business ties with industrialist Ezra Harel when the board approved a $62.5 million purchase of land for a new power plant from Harel’s company, Rogosin.

The third count, for obstructing justice, stemmed from his decision to flee the country when he knew he was wanted for questioning by the police and after he had already been questioned twice under caution — as a suspect in a crime — over the Rogosin affair by the Israel Securities Authority.

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