The Tax Authority is not cooperating in the fight against organized crime because its workers are demanding high-risk pay, the deputy head of police investigations and intelligence told the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee yesterday.
Committee chairman MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) called the meeting to discuss the assassination of crime boss Ya'akov Alperon last week.
Brig. Gen. Dror Mantzur told the lawmakers the Prison Service says it has 500 organized crime offenders behind bars.
At the beginning of 2006, the cabinet established a steering committee, headed by the attorney general and including law enforcement officials, to fight organized crime. The committee sought to establish 10 teams including police officers and tax officials in order to target the problem. But for the past 18 months, the latter have been refusing to cooperate.
Pines-Paz said he would speak with the finance minister and the Tax Authority director general to solve the problem immediately.
The tax authority confirmed that "operational activity with the police on organized crime is partial at this time." However, the statement also said, "On the intelligence level, full cooperation exists, including a shared situation room."
The tax authority explained that investigators want more funding and insurance because of the high risk inherent in fighting organized crime. The tax authority management said it hopes the negotiations underway with the treasury will be concluded in the near future.
MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) asked during the meeting whether anyone feared dealing with organized crime.
"The police are not afraid. We do not see fear among individual police officers," Mantzur said. Chief Inspector Michal Yedid, head of operational coordination, said the police have thwarted a number of serious criminal attacks but gave no details.
The committee members harshly criticized what they said was the police's lack of action against organized crime. Pines-Paz said organized crime was operating "fearlessly," while MK Marina Solodkin (Kadima) said, "The criminals are smarter and more experienced than our police."
Alex Lautin, whose wife Margarita was killed in a botched underworld hit on the Bat Yam beach this past summer, said the beaches should be marked as dangerous because they are reserved for criminals.
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