Owner of Lucky 18 Casino Arrested in Israel
16 September 2009
Hold on to your socks, the wars against online gaming are spreading far and wide. On Thursday night, Asi Vaknin, Naftali Goldman, and Yonatan Grimberg were arrested in Israel by detectives from the police International and Serious Crimes division. They are suspected of money laundering and Vaknin is also suspected of making threats. When questioned for several hours, he maintained his right to remain silent.
During a hearing on Friday morning before Judge Esther Nachlieli-Khayat at the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court, Sasi Gez and Sharon Nahari, attorney’s for the suspects, repeatedly demanded proof that the business in question was different from other internet gaming sites or not legal. Gez stated: “the company has licenses. Everything is public and visible”.
Even the judge was unsure if any laws had been broken. She said: “Tedi Sagi, ( owner of a company that makes software for on-line gambling sites), was my neighbor. I am somewhat familiar with the subject. What is the difference between him and the suspects before me?”.
Police Superintendent Alon Shaharbani stated that some of the activity took place in Israel and that the police needed to arrest the suspects and compare their stories.
Nahari stated that while Israels gamblers are barred by law from gambling web sites, and the site is managed from another country, then operating such a site is no crime. Nahari stated he has represented other similar clients and that no indictments have been issued.
Also, “In 2003 as a former co-owner of the modeling agency “Roberto”, Vaknin testified to police that the Abergil crime family was involved in selling the drug ecstasy in Los Angeles. Vaknin later left the United States after he was suspected of involvement in a series of crimes.” Vaknin also told police that the Abergil crime family, run by brothers Itzik and Meir Abergil, was behind the wave of gangland killings in Israel at the time.
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