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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

13 More Balad Activists Arrested in Fraud Crackdown

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Police continued the crackdown on the Israeli-Arab Knesset party Balad Wednesday, arresting 13 additional suspects on suspicion of fraud. The arrests bring the number of Balad activists, lawyers and accountants arrested since Sunday to 36. No Balad Knesset members have been arrested.

The police suspect that the new detainees, all party activists, have been involved in a money laundering ring to defraud the Israeli government by misrepresenting the origin of millions of shekels (at least hundreds of thousands of US dollars). Balad reported the money to have been donated from hundreds of donors in Israel, but police suspect the funds were in fact received from other sources, both in Israel and abroad. Police have not provided further details.

Balad Party members allegedly committed a series of financial offenses, including money laundering, false reporting, forgery, receiving an object by deception under aggravated circumstances and numerous violations of the Political Parties Financing Law.

Balad is part of the Joint List faction in the Israeli parliament, a conglomeration of three Arab-majority parties, and describes itself as a “national party for the Palestinian citizens of Israel.” The party is more (Arab) nationalistic than the dovish and socialist Hadash party and the Islamic religious United Arab List. Balad MK Hanin Zoabi participated in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza, and more recently called IDF soldiers “murderers” in the Knesset plenum.

In February, Zoabi and fellow Balad MKs Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas were suspended from all Knesset deliberations for four months for meeting with and honoring families of Palestinian terrorists.

The latest detainees are expected to be brought before courts in northern and central Israel to extend their remand. In addition, six of the 23 suspects arrested on Sunday will appear in court Wednesday and are expected to have their remands extended. The 17 remaining suspects will appear on Thursday.

The investigation was initiated several years ago following a report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira and approved by the previous Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, in keeping with the state attorney’s recommendation. The covert investigation was closely monitored by the state attorney’s office.

Balad officials denounced the crackdown Sunday as “political persecution.”

“This is a dangerous escalation and another stage in the campaign of political persecution against the Arab minority and its political movements,” said the party in a statement. “The real purpose is to silence Balad and harm its role as spearhead in the struggle against oppression and discrimination. Like in the past, this attempt will fail and the mountain will turn out to be a mouse.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Officials Outraged Over Humanitarian Aid Transferred to Hamas

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Israeli officials were outraged after learning that an employee of the Christian humanitarian aid organization World Vision was indicted for funneling money and resources to the terrorist organization Hamas.

“Israel has today confirmed what it has known for a long time, which is that Hamas is sustained with funds from ‘human rights organizations,’” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud). “Instead of improving the situation in the Gaza Strip and rehabilitating it, Hamas uses the money intended for children and the needy instead for the benefit of manufacturing rockets and tunnels.”

The southern district of the State Attorney’s Office filed an indictment on Wednesday against Mohammed El-Halabi, World Vision’s senior branch manager in Gaza. El-Halabi was arrested at the Erez crossing on June 15 as he was attempting to return to Gaza.

The indictment against El-Halabi charges him with committing a number of offenses related to direct and indirect support of and involvement in terrorism on behalf of the Hamas terror organization.

El-Halabi, who confessed under questioning to having been an active Hamas member since his youth, said that Hamas chose to dispatch him in 2005 to infiltrate World Vision in light of his prior work for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Gaza. While employed with UNDP, El-Halabi helped collect intelligence for Hamas by stationing “farmers” near the border with Israel who were actually operating as lookouts for the terror organization.

El-Halabi worked his way up the hierarchical ladder in the Gaza branch of World Vision until he eventually became its director, allowing him to have full control over the branch’s budget and aid packages.

The indictment states that after becoming director, El-Halabi helped transfer money and logistical supplies to Hamas through a number of fraudulent schemes, including fictitious humanitarian projects, false registration of Hamas activists as World Vision employees, and the reporting of fraudulent budget figures. Supplies included iron rods, pipes, and building materials, which were used for the construction of Hamas military outposts and terror tunnels.

El-Halabi admitted that the humanitarian aid was received almost exclusively by Hamas terrorists and their families. El-Halabi distributed thousands of food packages and medical supplies to Hamas terrorists every month, including during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Additionally, El-Halabi confirmed that the money which was transferred to Hamas was primarily intended to strengthen the terror organization’s military capacity through the purchase of weapons and the financing of the construction of Hamas’s underground terror tunnel network.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely stressed that the activities of human rights organizations operating in Gaza must be monitored.

“It is important to tighten the investigations into contributions to human rights organizations and to be especially concerned that money is used for the purposes for which it was donated,” added Deputy Minister Hotovely.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Avi Dichter expressed the need to be aware of how other international aid organizations are distributing their donations as well.

“Reasonable international bodies operating in Gaza are used as sources of money for the financing of Hamas terrorism in Gaza, and the difference with World Vision is just that the other bodies have not yet been exposed as such,” said Dichter.

“The naivete that characterizes the humanitarian organizations with good intentions is what enables Hamas terrorists to endorse the support for terrorist infrastructure,” the committee chairman added.

World Vision adamantly denied the allegations against El-Halabi in the indictment and claimed that the organization continuously made certain that all its humanitarian aid was not misappropriated.

“Based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true,” World Vision said in a statement. “We will carefully review any evidence presented to us and will take appropriate actions based on that evidence.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Former Netanyahu Chief of Staff Ari Harrow Interrogated A Second Time

Monday, July 18th, 2016

The former chief of staff for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned a second time under caution on Monday.

Ari Harrow was taken for questioning last week upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, although he was told he was not being arrested.

After 14 hours of interrogation “under caution” — implying he was indeed a suspect in the unspecified investigation — he was released to five days of house arrest.

The interrogation was carried out in connection with a probe into allegations of fraud in an initial investigation into the activities of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, as well as other government figures.

A spokesperson for Israel Police said the National Fraud Investigation Unit last week asked Harrow to provide testimony about Netanyahu’s alleged financial misappropriations.

Earlier last week Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit ordered an initial probe into the prime minister’s actions as part of the wider investigation of financial activity by government officials.

Harrow served as chief of staff to Netanyahu in 2014.

Hana Levi Julian

PMW Reports PA’s ‘Billion Dollar Fraud’

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

A special report by Palestinian Media Watch reveals a major fraud by the Palestinian Authority, through which it is reaping more than a billion dollars in foreign aid annually.

In 2014, the PA announced that in order to continue receiving more than a billion dollars in financial support annually, it was acceding to US and European donor countries’ demands that the PA stop paying salaries to terrorist prisoners. The PA claimed the money for prisoners’ salaries would no longer be paid by the PA but instead by the PLO.

Even though PMW warned at the time that this was nothing more than a ploy, the US and the EU countries accepted the PA’s assurances, and continue to pay the PA more than a billion dollars in financial aid every year.

The PMW special report cites numerous official PA sources and statements by officials, showing that the PA is violating the trust of the US and the EU. According to all these sources, the PA Ministry of Finance continues to make the decisions and remains the source of the money for paying salaries to terrorist prisoners.

In addition, records of the PA Ministry of Finance show money transfers the PA made to the PLO in the years 2012 – 2015. These transfers show a noteworthy money trail used to transfer money that is used for terrorist salaries from the PA to the PLO. In 2015, after the PA had assured Western donors it was no longer paying the salaries, and after it had closed the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs, it suddenly transferred more than double what it had transferred to the PLO in previous years. The additional amount transferred by the PA to the PLO in 2015 was almost identical to the budget the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs used to have. This extra money the PLO received from the PA in 2015 matches the amount the PLO now needed to pay the salaries of terrorist prisoners.

The payments may be made by the PLO, but the money is still PA money.

Since it continues to fund salaries to terrorists, thereby clearly violating its promise to donors, the PA should be ineligible to receive Western donor money. However, through this deception the PA is still reaping over a billion dollars in foreign aid.

Click here to view the full report in PDF
JNi.Media

Mass Arrests of FIFA Officials Omit PA Terrorist Rajoub

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

A lawfare organization has called on FIFA to expel Palestinian Authority soccer director Jabril Rajoub from the soccer organization because of incitement for terror. He doubles as Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee of Fatah, whose Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorists have murdered hundreds of Israelis, including the 11 Olympic athletes executed at the Munich Games in 1972.

Expelling Rajoub from FIFA would be just desserts in response to his campaign to expel Israel from the soccer organization because of the “occupation.”

He plans to urge the annual FIFA Congress meeting in Switzerland this week to pass a resolution to suspend Israel, but he was kicked with a big surprise early late Tuesday night that might distract the membership.

Hours after the call by Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner to expel him, Swiss authorities began a roundup of FIFA officials to be extradited to the United States

Law enforcement agents in Switzerland swooped down on FIFA’a annual meeting at a luxury hotel Tuesday and arrested FIFA officials on U.S. charges of money laundering, racketeering and fraud.

FIFA director Sepp Blatter is not among those to be indicted. The gathering in Switzerland is expected to elect him Friday to a fifth term to head one of the richest and most powerful sports organizations in the world.

It apparently is also one of the most corrupt, which brings to mind the Palestinian Authority and Rajoub, a convicted terrorist who used his skills to head Yasser Arafat’s security forces. He has retained his penchant for terror by repeatedly inciting others to attack Israelis.

Last year, he expressed his wish for a nuclear weapon so he could drop it on Israel.

Darshan-Leitner wrote:

To say that such violent, hateful, discriminatory conduct is beneath the high ideals of FIFA for peace, sportsmanship and collegiality is to massively understate the obvious.

Rajoub, personally, and in combination with others on the Central Committee of Fatah, actively supports and renders aid to AAMB [Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade] and engages in public conduct designed to foster discrimination and terrorist violence against Jews and Israelis, in violation of the FIFA principles and of the FIFA disciplinary code.

Rajoub has no place in FIFA because he has cynically and brazenly flouted FIFA’s standards for conduct in Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes.

The FIFA regulations allow expulsion and a fine up to $20,000 for inciting hatred and violence through the media.

She noted that Rajoub has stated:

Fatah has decided that our relations with the Israelis are relations between enemies…am I stopping you from slaughtering a settlement? No one is stopping anyone.

And:

Until now we have not had nuclear weapons. but in the name of Allah, if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.”

By all rights, Rajoub should be in prison, where in 1970 he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life for a terrorist attack on the IDF near Hebron.

Thank to the generosity of Israeli prison officials, Rajoub used his time in jail to study up on Zionism, polish up his Hebrew and lead hunger strikes and protests until he was freed in 1985 along with more than 1,100 other terrorists in exchange for three Israeli hostages held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Israel arrested him again for returning to terror, but, of course, released him again, arrested him again for more terror, and freed Rajoub again.

He now hides safely behind his position as head of the Palestinian Authority Soccer affiliate of FIFA, the organization that has several officials under arrest for fraud, but not for inciting terror.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin

Friday, October 24th, 2014

With 5775 being a Shemittah year, that imbues vegetables and fruits from Israel this year with a sanctity that requires some extra attention in the kitchen.

There are various halachic methods that are used to handle Shmittah, or alternatively, circumvent it entirely.

One method is “Heter Mechira” which is similar to selling Chametz for Pesach, where the fields are temporarily sold to non-Jews. This popular method, used by the Israeli Rabbinate, is considered controversial by some, and generally unacceptable by many Hareidim.

A second and preferred method is “Otzar Beit Din”, where a religious court takes control of the field for the year, but then the vegetables and fruits have Shemittah sanctity and extra care must be taken with them.

Hareidim generally prefer a third method, where they simply buy fruits and vegetables from Arabs in Judea and Samaria. It circumvents the Shemittah issue, and makes the fruits and vegetables “Shemittah-free”, though Hareidim miss the opportunity and mitzvah to eat Shemittah food as a result.

Hareidim designate this method “Mehadrin” – though there is a lot of room to disagree with that designation.

(There’s a fourth option, which was made popular by Gush Katif. Vegetables are grown in hothouses, in pots detached from the ground. It’s an expensive way to grow vegetables, but the vegetables don’t have Shemittah status, and it supports Jewish farmers in Israel. Due to the cost, it is not extensively implemented).

Of course, adding Kosher L’Mehadrin to anything guarantees its price will go up, and Shemittah-free vegetables and fruits bought from Arabs are no exception.

Shemittah-free “Mehadrin” vegetables and fruits can easily cost two or three times more than standard “Heter Mechira” fruits and vegetables.

And that leaves room for disreputable people to try and make an easy and illicit profit.

Agriculture Ministry officials accidentally uncovered a major Arab fruit and vegetable ring this week that was taking advantage of the price difference, according to a Makor Rishon report.

Many Hareidim who thought they were buying “Mehadrin” Shemittah-free vegetables from Arabs in Judea and Samaria – simply weren’t.

The Arabs vegetable network was buying both Heter Mechira vegetables from the open market, as well as vegetables from unknown sources, without any health or agricultural supervision or certification.

The Arab network was stamping their products with fake Israeli Rabbinate certificates and selling them as “Mehadrin” to restaurants and stores who wanted or required “Mehadrin” Shemittah-free vegetables.

The vegetables were distributed throughout Israel to the Hareidi market.

At best, the Hareidim have been eating “Heter Mechira”. At worse, they’ve been eating vegetables grown using unpurified sewer water or pesticides from unknown and unsupervised Arabs fields.

Shalom Bear

New York’s Grimm: Indictment Result of ‘Witch Hunt’

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The fact that the government was going to indict 44 year-old U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), who represents New York State’s 11th congressional district, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, was widely known.

Grimm’s own lawyer acknowledged last week that it was about to happen.

And yesterday, when the 30 count indictment was handed down, Rep. Grimm pleaded not guilty to fraud.

The indictment charges the former Marine, FBI agent and businessman concealed profits from a health food restaurant he ran, and paid employees off the books – some of whom were allegedly in the States illegally –  in order to evade payments of taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

What’s worse, if true, is that Grimm not only engaged in the evasions, but he lied about it under oath in a lawsuit brought by a former employer of his restaurant.

Grimm characterized the indictment as a “political witch hunt” undertaken against him because he “was an outsider who wasn’t supposed to win.” The witch hunt, he said, is an “effort to assassinate my character and to remove me from office.”

But, both Grimm and his attorneys, Elizabeth Kase and retired Judge John Kase, said they are relieved that the two years of innuendo and “absolutely disgraceful, shameful government leaks” are over, and Grimm and his legal team will be able to fight back.

In talking about the “witch hunt” against him, Grimm said that his “opponents figured I’d run away, that I’d abandon my post, and that my constituents would abandon me.” But the now-indicted congressman said that was not going to happen.

Grimm has stepped down from his position on the Financial Services Committee until resolution of the unfolding legal matters, according to CNN.

There is another legal investigation against Grimm which is still ongoing. That one involves potential campaign finance fraud.

This is Grimm’s official written statement:

The last 24 hours have given me a lot to reflect upon.

Same for the voters in my congressional district.

Here’s what they need to know.

They elected a Marine, with the true grit that comes with it.

And our credo is never retreat from a fire fight, which is why I’ve been able to accomplish so much for our district.

Throughout my career, I have sought to live a public life of honor and integrity. I have also made no bones about the fact that I won’t be bullied, abused or intimidated. I would hope those attributes have made me a more effective advocate for my constituents, working day and night for each and every one of them, regardless of who they vote for.

Let me be clear, these charges are false and I devoutly believe I will be exonerated. This is yet another example of how the system can be corrupted into a vengeful, cynical and partisan persecution with little accountability to the rules of law.

Candidly, there are powerful forces who don’t like me. They don’t like the fact that I am a political outsider. I am not part of their club. They certainly don’t like that I speak my mind or the rough social edges I share with many who have served in our military. I get all of that, but that doesn’t mean they can flout the law, leak unattributed lies and seek to poison public opinion.

There are some in the media who now say I should resign. That would mean I am admitting guilt of something I am not guilty of. That would also mean they don’t know a thing about Marines. They forget that I have faced much more dangerous foes in my career long before I was a Congressman.

I have but one focus now; to redouble my efforts on behalf of the people of my district. There is much work to be done to protect the hardworking families I represent. I will run for reelection by asking voters to judge me on what I have done to represent them, including the many accomplishments like delivering Sandy relief and passing major flood insurance reform since being elected to office.

Let my peers empaneled for the specific purpose of examining this political witch hunt decide how this matter should be properly disposed of.

In the meantime, I’m going back to work.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-yorks-grimm-indictment-result-of-witch-hunt/2014/04/29/

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