Internet gambling and tax charges flow from Bet and Chat online gambling bust
The Jerusalem Post reports that police and prosecution officials have filed indictments in the Petah Tikva District Court against five suspects on charges of money laundering, facilitating illegal gambling, white collar theft, fraud, and tax embezzlement, alleging that between 2000 and 2002, they ran a network of almost 100 gambling computer programs situated in Internet cafes, kiosks and lottery stations across the country.
The suspects have been named as Meir Abergil, Yoram Zarfati, Yoel Schneider and brothers Reuven and Ezra Gavrieli. Charges were also filed against companies owned by the suspects.
Prosecutors outlined an elaborate system whereby punters paid at land locations by cash or cheque, but bets were placed through the Internet in the Dominican Republic with finances routed through Cyprus and ultimately distributed in Israel.
Tel Aviv's District Attorney's Office claimed that the gaming venues were effectively being used as casinos that brought in "tens of millions" of shekels and charged that the operation had been originated by Reuven Gavrieli and a partner, Motti Menashe who set up a jointly owned company called Bet and Chat for the purpose.
Bet and Chat disributed a "Net Casino" program to gaming venues; the other suspects were allegedly involved in distributing the program for Bet and Chat.
The indictments were accompanied by an affidavit from Ela Rubinek of the Tel Aviv District Court's tax and finance bureau seeking authority to seize the suspects' assets, including vehicles worth a combined NIS 20 million, as well as homes and farms.
It is believed the charges are the result od extensive police undercover investigations.
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