Israeli CEO arrested in Italy

Italian police have arrested the owner of an Israeli construction company, which has collapsed after being found involved in widespread illegal building in the occupied West Bank, Israeli police announced Friday.

Israeli CEO arrested in Italy

Italian police have arrested the owner of an Israeli construction company, which has collapsed after being found involved in widespread illegal building in the occupied West Bank, Israeli police announced Friday.

The affair has caused a storm in Israel, as the company, Heftsiba, has left thousands of Israelis who bought newly-built apartments robbed of both their apartments and their mortgage money.

Heftsiba Chief Executive Officer Boaz Yoni, who left the country after the affair broke earlier this month, was arrested as he was dining with his wife and children in a roadside restaurant in a village near Milan late Thursday, a police official told Israel Radio.

Israeli police had requested an international arrest warrant two weeks ago, he said, adding the CEO's extradition process was now expected to begin in the coming days.

He is suspected of fraud and embezzlement of millions of dollars from clients who bought the 3,000 apartments his company built in the Jewish settlement of Modi'in Illit, north of Jerusalem.

The affair began when Peace Now, the Israeli human rights organization, petitioned Israel's supreme court along with residents of the Palestinian village of Bil'in, saying the apartments were being built illegally on land belonging to the village.

According to Peace Now, Heftsiba had obtained only partial and in some cases illegal permits for the building project from Israeli authorities.

Hundreds of buyers have meanwhile broken into the newly-built homes they purchased from Heftsiba and begun squatting in them since news of the company's bankruptcy broke earlier this month.

The affair has reopened the public debate in Israel about the lack of law enforcement on illegal Israeli construction in the West Bank.

DPA

Last Mod: 31 Ağustos 2007, 13:07
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