Police bust Poland ‘Jewish heritage trip’ cartel
Nine suspects were arrested in Israel on Monday morning, in what appears to be the uncovering of a cartel that attempted to create a monopoly on Jewish group trips to Poland.
The cartel seems to have joined together the leading travel agencies that work on group trips to Poland in order to eliminate competition in the field.
During an investigation conducted by the antitrust authority, it was discovered that authorities in leading travel agencies teamed up and established fixed prices for groups of youngsters that travel to Poland as part of Jewish seminars and heritage trips. The suspects, who won the tender from the Ministry of Education to organize and facilitate school trips to Poland, divided up the country into different regions of control so as not to come into competition with one another.
This morning detectives of the Lahav 433 unit together with members of the antitrust authority raided the homes of the nine suspects. Among the suspects is one of the upper level staff members of a large travel agency, and two CEO’s of smaller companies. They, together with six others were arrested, and others were taken in for questioning and are suspected of being involved in the cartel. The detectives raided their homes, offices and bank accounts.
Some of the suspects will be brought to court in Rishon Lezion to be remanded in custody. They are suspected of transgressing antitrust laws, accepting secret bribes under questionable circumstances, and monetary fraud.
School trips to Poland, which are part of the accepted curriculum, cost parents thousands of shekel. The trips have been harshly criticised more than once stating that parents who are not from a high socioeconomic level are unable to send their children on these trips due to the prohibitive prices.