No less than 44 people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a major money laundering network which yielded some $1 billion in gambling money on Wednesday. Police believe the network's profits reached tens of millions of dollars.
An investigation was launched after Tel Aviv police received information regarding large sums of money, originating from gambling, circulating among Tel Aviv crime organizations. A special task force tracked the money trail on a daily basis, exposing the network's method of "gambling banks" laundering funds using legal means, and profiting millions of dollars.
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Police managed to track the funds using wiretapping and screening bank accounts and income tax reports submitted to the authorities.
One of the suspects being arrested (Photo: Amir Levy)
The investigation indicates that the network's "bookies" collected the money from gamblers via an internet web site called "DONBET" providing them with cards containing special access codes. The score was settled by the gambler and his "bookie" at the end of each term.
Police raid (Photo: Amir Levy)
Once enough evidence was gathered, there was a green light to arrest the suspects. On Wednesday at 4 am, 200 detectives raided the suspects' homes while another team raided businesses suspected to have ties with the network.
Police will try to trace the network's more senior members through the suspects already in custody, who are accused of gambling.
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