MORE DETAILS RELEASED ON ISRAELI ONLINE GAMBLING
1 February 2008
Police claim defendants "had an interest in
influencing the results of games."
Information on the latest round of Internet gambling
busts in Israel (see previous InfoPowa report) has been
expanded upon by police speaking to Jerusalem Post
Seven people were arrested and 18 were 'detained for
questioning' for allegedly operating illegal gambling
Web sites that it is believed earned millions of shekels
per year that were then "laundered."
The sweep was carried out by International and Serious
Crimes Unit detectives together with the Gidonim Unit -
the operational arm of the Israel Police's Lahav 433
unit - and Israel's equivalent of the FBI, which
commenced operations on January 1. Investigators raided
the suspects' homes, the betting company Play 2 Bet's
Tel Aviv's offices and K.G. Money Changers' office in
Police identified four of the suspects, Eliran Oved,
Aryeh Avraham, David Hachmon and Yossi Ben-Shitreet,
whose remands were extended until next Sunday.
The Post reports that the International and Serious
Crimes Unit's undercover investigation began after the
Northern Fraud Squad received information that the "Play
2 Bet" website was offering gambling which Israeli
authorities believe to be illegal. Police said they
found that the site's earnings were routed through K.G.
Money Changers, and then either laundered domestically
or transferred overseas.
Police also revealed without detailed substantiation
that members of crime syndicates used Play 2 Bet to
launder profits from other illegal enterprises.
Investigators described a complex system in which the
bets were placed through regional and group leaders.
Access to the site was via a "closed" list; each gambler
received a personal log-in name and password after
placing a significant down payment to cover their
The Jerusalem Post reports that Play2Bet online managers
did not accept credit cards. Once a week, police said,
messengers would visit each gambler to either pick up
cash or to pay winners. The site allowed a number of
types of wagers; most involved sports, including bets on
halftime scores, number of yellow and red penalty cards,
and scoring on penalty kicks.
Bets, police said, could be placed for sums ranging from
hundreds to tens of thousands of shekels per week.
Although much of the money was what police described as
"black money" - earned from illegal activities such as
prostitution, drug dealing and loan sharking - they
believe some came from loans taken on the "gray market,"
loans from unlicensed lenders who do not, however,
charge excessive interest.
Police emphasised that the site's operators "had an
interest in influencing the results of games. One of the
suspects was already convicted in a separate
investigation of charges involving bribery and threats
against players of the Hapoel Beersheba soccer team and
of attempting to influence the results of matches.
The site operated 24 hours a day from its Tel Aviv
headquarters, but its servers were in Europe - although
police would not say in which country.
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