Photo: Roi Yanovsky
Asraf brought to Jerusalem Magistrate's Court
Photo: Roi Yanovsky

Asraf claims staged kidnap was over gambling debts, not breakup

Israeli who faked his own abduction in the West Bank says he decided to disappear after accumulating millions of shekels in gambling debts; Asraf and his friend Nagauker could be indicted as early as this week.

Three days after allegedly staging his own kidnapping in the West Bank, Niv Asraf and his suspected accomplice Eran Nagauker were questioned again Sunday morning.



Police is expected to hand over the case to the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office in the coming days so an indictment could be filed against the two. They are suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime, fabricating evidence, obstruction of justice, disturbing the peace and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.


The Prosecutor's Office will decide which criminal offenses to charge them with, and whether to also file a financial lawsuit against the two over the funds and resources invested in the search effort.


The two men have supplied contradictory accounts of the so-called prank, which Judge Chen Avital of Jerusalem Magistrate's Court described as "irresponsible."


Asraf (left) and Nagauker.
Asraf (left) and Nagauker.


During his interrogation, Nagauker claimed that he and his friend had staged the kidnap in order to elicit a positive reaction from Asraf's ex-girlfriend. Asraf, however, said that he had decided to "disappear" after he accumulated millions of shekels in gambling debts.


Asraf told investigators that he had felt threatened by criminals in Be'er Sheva and had therefore wanted to escape. 


A friend said Asraf turned to Be'er Sheva's Police Intelligence in the past, claiming that he was being threatened over his gambling debts and asked for the police's help.  "They sat and talked but nothing happened," the friend said. "He gave them information, but it wasn't handled."


Asraf offered to help by providing information on the people he owed money to, but the initial information he gave did not amount to much. Asraf didn't, however, file an official complaint with the police.  


He also said that he had planned to stage the abduction days earlier, before his girlfriend had left him. Police investigators, however, are uncertain how - even if he is telling the truth – staging his disappearance in the West Bank could help Asraf.


Police investigators said there was little relevance between the motive and the severity of the offenses the two had committed, and that there are therefore no extenuating circumstances with regards to these crimes.


The police investigators also noted that the evidence in the case are solid, and that the two have admitted to the allegations attributed to them.


Asraf and Nagauker will be brought for another remand extension on Monday, and could be released on house arrest under restrictions.


Attorney Motti Yosef, who represents Asraf, told Ynet that "naturally, I can't get into the details of the investigation but I can say the act was not romantically motivated. It's an entirely different direction. He claims his disappearance was not due to a fight with his girlfriend, but for a different reason altogether."


The search for Asraf didn't just include the soldiers in the field, but also led to emergency meetings and situation assessments Defense

Minister Moshe Ya'alon held with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and GOC Central Command Roni Numa. The IDF operated almost all of its operational and logistic arms - the Central Command, the Air Force, the Computer Service Directorate, Military Intelligence and the Technological and Logistics Directorate, as well as division command posts in the field, drones and observation balloons, dozens of classified measures and even used expensive traceability and satellite communications ability. All of this was put into action less than an hour from the report on Asraf's disappearance.


פרסום ראשון: 04.05.15, 18:09
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