Israeli businessman Walid Abulafia, one of the owners of the iconic Abulafia bakery in Jaffa, is suspected of tax evasion worth millions of shekels, and of not reporting his assets.
Abulafia was detained by the Israel Tax Authority on Monday and released after he put up 100,000 shekels ($27,000) in bail.
Abulafia, allegedly with the assistance of a brother, took control of family members’ assets, but didn’t include them in a declaration of assets. They include the Ambassador complex at the corner of Hayarkon and Allenby streets in Tel Aviv, where a tower is slated to be built. The Tax Authority alleges that Abulafia created the false impression that a Dutch company controls the complex. That company hasn’t existed since 2013.
The tax authority also believes Abulafia and other family members have money in foreign bank accounts that they haven’t reported. Based on information from U.S. tax authorities, the local taxman also believes Abulafia received some $250,000 in dividends from a foreign company he owns, and never reported it.
After requesting information from foreign tax authorities, police officers and tax inspectors raided the homes of family members and offices of the family’s accountants and businesses. Documents were seized in the searches.
Abulafia and other family members were questioned as potential criminal suspects.
In a response, Abulafia’s lawyer said his client had been questioned and that he cooperated fully. “We are fully convinced that following the investigation, it will emerge that Abulafia paid full taxes on all his businesses and interests, and the suspicions will prove baseless.”
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