Israel Cracks Down On Dirty Money

The largest money-laundering investigation in Israel's history continues to grow in scope. On Mar. 7, Israeli authorities froze $376 million in assets at a Tel Aviv branch of the country's largest bank, Bank Hapoalim. More than two dozen of the bank's employees have been detained on the suspicion that they failed to report irregular transactions involving millions of dollars. Israeli investigators are looking into whether Russian businessmen, including media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky and Leonid Nevzlin, a major shareholder in Yukos, used the bank to launder money. Both of the men, who now have Israeli citizenship and are wanted by Moscow on criminal charges, have denied any wrongdoing. The year-long undercover operation is also zeroing in on Hapoalim branches in Luxembourg and France. Israel enacted an anti-money-laundering law in 2002, under intense U.S. pressure.

Edited by Christopher Power

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