Two Israeli nationals, suspected of defrauding several French companies with a false promise of a coronavirus vaccine, will be extradited to France, the authorities said Monday.
The two Ra'anana natives who hold French passports, are accused of impersonating senior business executives who defrauded three companies in France of some 60,000 Euros. The pair allegedly claimed they have run successful trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, they are alleged to also have attempted to illegally sell protective medical gear needed to fight coronavirus, to several chain stores in France.
After receiving information from authorities in France, the police's special investigations' unit, Lahav 433, arrested the pair and opened an expedient investigation against them.
In an unusual step, police investigators filed the international extradition order against the two before the investigation was even completed.
Normally, suspects in similar circumstances are released under house arrest and only after evidence is formulated for an indictment, an extradition order is authorized, a process which sometimes takes months and even years.
In this case, Israel Police along with INTERPOL and French enforcement authorities decided to hasten the process, with the two currently under arrest in Israel, awaiting their extradition to France.
"This case is a first of its kind," said one Israel Police official. "This is part of the continued effort to fight international criminals, who are trying to hide [within the country] after committing their crimes outside [Israel's] borders."