Netanya crime boss Asi Abutbul appears to be finally going “up the river” following his being sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role as one of Israel’s top criminal gang leaders. The former resident of Netanya’s Ramat Poleg neighborhood, and nephew of slain underworld figure Felix Abutbul (who was gunned down outside his casino in Prag, Czech Republic), may have run out of luck in regards to his being able to “beat the rap” on a number of criminal charges that had been brought up against him, including extortion, money laundering, and other crimes that are now listed under the framework of a new criminal justice law, designed to catch such high profile criminals.
Besides 13 years in the slammer, he was also sentenced to another two year suspended sentence, as fined NIS 500,000 ($125,000).
Abutbul has been in trouble with the law for a number of years, especially in the areas of extortion, where he and his fellow “associates’ have use all kinds of violent tactics to get “protection money” from business people, including wealthy immigrants from France.
Assi has also escaped a number of attempts on his life, including an attempt to hit his car in Ramat Poleg with an anti-tank missile. Besides the death of his uncle Felix, another uncle, Charley Abutbul, was seriously wounded when he was shot down in his Netanya restaurant by rival gang members a couple of years ago.
The State Attorney’s Office was trying to put Assi away for a lot longer, and had originally asked for a much longer sentence (25 years), which Assi’s lawyers managed to get whittled down by half. Still, 13 years is a long time for a guy who used to bee seen eating in local restaurants, surrounded by bodyguards. State Attorney spokespersons noted that Abutbul’s name was often used as a way of threatening local people to either pay large sums of “protection money” to Abutbul or “face the consequences”. He has a “long list of violations” according to Israeli criminal law, many of which have added to his notoriety over the years. His top legal “mouthpiece”, Yoram Chacham, was “permanently removed” (killed) a year ago.
Other Israeli crime bosses, including Ricco Shirazi, and Yitzhak Abergil, are also frequently mentioned in the news; as well as Zeev Rosenstein, who was recently returned from being a “guest” of the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Miami Florida, for his role in a large international drug deal. Rosenstein is now a “guest” of Israeli prison authorities.