Israeli Mafia Boss Arrested on Suspicion of Having Hand in Lawyer’s Murder

Gag order on suspect's name; victim was mafia attorney Yoram Hacham, killed by car bomb in 2008

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
Yoram Hacham
Yoram HachamCredit: Moti Kimchi
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

A prominent crime-syndicate figure was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of being involved in the 2008 assassination of attorney Yoram Hacham, who was killed by a car bomb in Tel Aviv.

Two other suspects were also arrested on Wednesday in connection with the investigation, whose details have been placed under a gag order. The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court released for publication only that the investigation has recently been reopened following new evidence that has come to light.

In June 2015 crime boss Asi Abutbul was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the mafia-style execution, following information tying him and his brother Francois to the case. But 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 a top lawyer who represented a number of underworld figures, including Abutbul, who was convicted in the last case in which Hacham represented him.

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.

Police also mounted a search on Wednesday for the body of a criminal who has been missing for 17 years, as part of the renewed investigation into Hacham’s assassination.

The Abutbul brothers were questioned in the past on suspicion of involvement in the man’s disappearance, and the police assume he has been murdered.

The head of the police investigations and intelligence department, Meni Yitzhaki, spoke about the investigation at the Israel Bar Association’s conference in Eilat on Wednesday, saying “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.”

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