Israel Set to Extradite Abergil Brothers to U.S.

But agreement means crime figures will serve any sentence in Israeli jail.

Reputed organized crime figures Meir and Yitzhak Abergil will be extradited to the United States within the next several days, the Israel Police announced on Sunday.

They are among five Israeli defendants - including Yisrael Ozifa, Moshe Malul and Sasson Barashi - who will be extradited on charges of money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking. They are also accused of killing a drug dealer.

Meir Abergil (Tomer Appelbaum)
Tomer Appelbaum

The suspects, who are also alleged to be members of an organized crime organization, will be supervised on the flight to the United States by American law enforcement officials and will be held in custody until the end of their trial.

They were indicted in 2008 by a California court and the extradition request was submitted in October of that year.

If convicted and sentenced to jail, they will serve time in an Israeli prison.

It is thought that the defendants' lawyers have been in touch with U.S. officials over a possible plea agreement. The Americans oppose the prospect of a plea bargain for Yitzhak Abergil, who is allegedly heavily involved in the three cases that form the basis of the indictment the defendants face.

The extradition follows a six-year police investigation that entailed cooperation between U.S. authorities and law enforcement officials from several other countries.

Court okayed extradition

The Jerusalem District Court granted the extradition request with respect to most of the allegations. The Abergil brothers are alleged to have run a money-laundering operation from funds generated by Eti Alon at the Trade Bank.

The indictment alleges that they extorted funds from various parties to whom they had lent money. Yitzhak Abergil is also accused of suggesting that a drug dealer named Sami Atia be killed and giving the go-ahead for the murder.

In a Supreme Court ruling last month allowing the extradition, the court noted the harm caused by organized crime.

"Their activities do damage to the country's economy and to the resilience of the society when phenomena such as prostitution, human trafficking, gambling and drug dealing exist in it without a concerted and continuous war against it on the part of state authorities," the court said in its ruling.