Investment manager embezzled to cover debts
By Paul
Esther Alon, the assistant investment manager who has admitted to embezzling NIS 250 million (US$51.4 million) from the Trade Bank to help cover her brother's gambling debts, is apparently linked to ‘the leaders of organized crime in Israel,’ according to evidence presented to the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court yesterday by police investigators.

Police believe that the Alon was not alone in the fraud, with white-collar criminals, money launderers and compulsive gamblers also involved in the scam.

Alon agreed to an extension of her remand for eight days, as did her father Avigdor Maksimov, who is suspected of acting as the middleman between Alon and `gray market’ creditors.

“Up until now, we've uncovered the theft of NIS 150 million. It's clear that this is not the full amount, but due to some problems, it will take us time to assess the scope of the embezzlement,’ the Bank of Israel's supervisor of banks, Yitzhak Tal, said at a banking seminar Monday at Tel Aviv University.

Tal published a directive Monday requiring banks to record information on transactions of NIS 10,000 ($2, 000) or more, as an anti-money laundering initiative. The new directive also prohibits the banks from opening accounts for clients acting on behalf of a third party unless this third party is duly identified.

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