Two Dozen Suspects Arrested in 'Largest Tax Fraud in Israeli History'

Suspects allegedly issued NIS 3.5 billion in fictitious tax receipts.

Nine suspects were arrested on Monday morning and fifteen others were held for questioning in a NIS 3.5 billion tax fraud investigation.

Israel Tax Authority investigators and police says the suspects issued fictitious tax receipts that cost the treasury over NIS 1 billion in lost revenues.

Tax Authority officials called the fraud the biggest in Israeli history.

Tax authorities have been conducting an undercover investigation for months. The suspects are all involved in the fuel industry, and are accused of using the fake tax receipts to avoid paying Value Added Tax on the price of fuel. In addition, they are suspected of violating money laundering laws, income tax evasion and conspiracy.

Dozens of police officers and tax officials took part in Monday's raids on the suspects' homes and offices. The police confiscated documents, computers and hundreds of thousands of shekels in cash. The Tax Authority's canine unit joined the raids, as the dogs are trained to sniThree of the main suspects are Yaniv Kinrash, 40, from Poriya; Avraham Oscar, 55, from Dimona; and David Morgenshtein, 57, from Bnei Brak. The judge said there was reason to fear they would interfere with the investigation if they were released from jail.

Authorities say the suspects set up fronts and straw companies to issue the fake receipts to companies they themselves owned, then used them to avoid paying taxes.

Judge Ita Nahaman of the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court remanded the suspects for eight days.

Israel Tax Authority offices in Jerusalem.
Lior Mizrahi