Israel suspects dozens were part of global money laundering ring

An Israeli investigation has raised allegations that citizens conspired to run a very large-scale money laundering network using a range of methods to conceal trails of cash, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.

Investigators have reportedly questioned hundreds of people regarding the laundering of some $200 million, which allegedly involved participation by both Israelis living in their home country and those abroad.

Investigators believe suspects used a variety of methods, including moving funds between different countries; false registration of transactions, invoices, and supporting documents; transfer of funds via various organizations in Israel and abroad; and use of currency service providers.

Dozens of people are to be indicted. Investigators began detaining suspects in September 2014 and apparently believe they now have sufficient evidence to file charges.

Fifteen ultra-Orthodox men were arrested in connection with the investigation in October. Police suspect that some of those involved in the scheme took black money from dubious financial transactions while spending time abroad, especially in the United States, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

The report further said that investigators suspect those involved committed a number of fraud and forgery offenses, as well as tax evasion.

News of the investigation emerged just a couple of weeks after a massive leak of 11 million documents from Panama based law firm Mossack Fonseca showed how the world’s elite, including 72 current or former heads of state, have been hiding billions of dollars in assets.

According to Israeli media reports, the names of 600 Israeli companies, including two of the three major Israeli banks — Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim — were contained in the documents. Some 850 shareholders were also named as holders of accounts in the tax haven.