Monday 27 July 2009

Shas party link to Syrian-Jewish money laundering ring revealed

Deri apparently following in footsteps of Rabbi David Yosef, who left US just hours before community was raided and his associate arrested by FBI

Sources from the Syrian-Jewish community in New York say Aryeh Deri visited them in May in order to request donations for a new political party, which he defined as a "social, haredi-secular party whose members are key Israeli personalities".

The American Syrian-Jewish community has donated funds in the past to a number of haredi institutions, especially those owned by Shas and the family of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the party's spiritual leader.

Yosef's son, Rabbi David Yosef, visited the community a number of times a year as the guest of Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Haim, who is currently one of the main suspects in a money laundering case involving ultra-Orthodox communities in New Jersey and New York.

David Yosef's family members say he departed from the US just hours before the FBI swept into the community to arrest 44 of its members, who are suspected of involvement in the case. "(He was) very lucky," said a member of the family who resides in Brooklyn.

Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Haim is considered a close associate of Rabbi David Yosef, and the two have been regarded as close since their days in the yeshiva.

Aryeh Deri could not be reached for comment.

In Israel the money laundering case has taken its effect and members of the ultra-Orthodox community have begun to seek legal counsel over the activities of various haredi organizations and institutions, in order to verify their observance of the law.,7340,L-3752196,00.html

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