Israel “Center of World Financial Fraud”: First Jew Extradited to US

Stanislav Nazarov, 46, a dual citizen of Israel and Russia, has become one of the first Jews to be extradited from Israel to face charges in an indictment accusing him of taking part in an international money laundering scheme which the Israeli police described as “doing unprecedented damage to the reputation of Israel which is perceived as a center that exports this kind of fraud.”

Usually, Israel never deports Jews wanted by any other country (see the Jews responsible for the fake “Jewish Community Center hate crimes” hoax which the Jewish Lobby claimed was evidence of “anti-Semitism”), but  Nazarov has specifically waived extradition, apparently preferring his chances in standing trial in the US.

According to an official statement issued by the US Department of Justice, Nazarov is among 19 people charged earlier this year in federal indictments outlining various international fraud and money laundering conspiracies.

“He was arrested in March 2017 in Israel following an undercover investigation and later waived extradition to the United States. Nazarov was brought to the United States on Oct. 19, 2017.”

The indictment charges Nazarov with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering. It includes a forfeiture allegation seeking a money judgment representing the proceeds of the alleged scheme.

According to the indictment, Nazarov conspired with others in June 2016 to defraud a large reinsurance company in India.  That company fell victim to a cyber-phishing scheme whereby Nazarov’s co-conspirators allegedly tricked a director of that company into wiring $1.4 million to a bank account in the United States.

In December 2016, the indictment alleges, Nazarov obtained what he believed to be a portion of that $1.4 million by receiving $50,000 at his location in Israel.  According to the indictment, Nazarov received that money by orchestrating a sophisticated money laundering scheme whereby the $50,000 was first transferred to Russia, and then to Nazarov in Israel.

At the time of his arrest, the Jerusalem-based Times of Israel reported that police had swooped on 20 suspects as “Israel-based financial fraud soars.”

The Times of Israel, quoting the police, said that [Jewish] “crooks [are] doing unprecedented damage to the reputation of Israel which is perceived as a center that exports this kind of fraud.”

The Times of Israel provided further details of the swindle for which Nazarov and his co-conspirators were arrested:

“Among those detained on March 1 were Harry Meir Amar of Netanya, Shimon Ben Shitrit of Ashdod, Tamzi Bebershvili of Netanya, Ori Saadon of Beit Shemesh, Stanislav Nazarov of Or Akiva, Timur Kardanov of Netanya, Rabia Abdel Hai of Tira, Ahmad Abu Naji of Nazareth, Husam Hariri of Umm el-Fahm and Moshe Hazan of Ramat Gan.”

“They are suspected, variously, of fraud, aggravated fraud, conspiring to commit crimes, threats, extortion, money laundering and running a criminal organization.

“The suspects approached companies, including insurance companies, banks and pension funds abroad, and impersonated senior executives of those companies. They spoke to mid-level employees of the companies and led them to believe they were being entrusted to handle a large financial transaction on behalf of the company, but one that had to be treated with the utmost secrecy.

“The mid-level employees were then instructed to wire money from the company’s corporate bank accounts to bank accounts controlled by the fraudsters.

“This money was then rapidly wired to bank accounts in China and elsewhere, and then transferred on to the alleged fraudsters and their co-conspirators. Among the organizations targeted, according to Israel Police, were companies in Poland, Finland, India, France and the United States.

“According to Israel Police, the alleged fraudsters hired the “Israeli-Arab Hariri crime organization,” one of Israel’s most powerful and dangerous organized crime groups, to provide protection through the use of threats and extortion, in exchange for a percentage of the proceeds.

“Police seized luxury cars, cash and documents during the raids, which took place at multiple locations throughout Israel.

“Later the same day, police also arrested Meir Cohen, a business owner from Modiin, as well as Swiss citizen and Tel Aviv resident Jonathan Maman. Both were arrested for alleged Internet fraud through impersonation.

“Two of the suspects arrested on Wednesday, Harry Meir Amar and Shimon Ben Shitrit, had also been arrested by Israel Police in November 2016 as part of a crime ring of about 35 individuals who operated out of apartments in Ashdod, Netanya and Ashkelon. This ring allegedly committed a variety of scams against companies and individuals abroad, including selling fictitious products and services, fictitious diamonds, fraudulent binary options and forex investments, as well as what is popularly known as the “fake CEO scam,” a scam that involves impersonating the CEO of a company and asking an employee to wire money somewhere.

“In a press release dated March 1, Israel Police said that although the crime ring is international in scope, it is centered in Israel.

“These international fraudulent schemes involving social engineering are growing in scale and doing unprecedented damage to the reputation of Israel, which is perceived as a center that exports this kind of fraud,” the police warned.

One of the individuals arrested in last November’s raids was Simon Dov Chikli, who together with his brother Gilbert pioneered the fake CEO scam more than 10 years ago. “Both Chikli brothers were extradited to France in 2008 but later found their way back to Israel,” the Times of Israel cryptically added.

Gilbert Chikli was tried in absentia and remains a wanted man in France, but lives freely in Israel, “a situation that Israeli police have refused to explain,” the paper said.

Gilbert and his brother Simon were the subjects of a 2015 feature film in France, “Je Compte Sur Vous” (“Thank You for Calling” in English), which “made many Jews worldwide uncomfortable, fearing it could stoke anti-Semitism with its portrayal of two French-Israeli fraudsters stealing from people in France while the Israeli police sat idly by.”

The Times of Israel continued:

“Israel has become a haven for criminals from abroad in recent years, particularly from France, many of whom commit Internet fraud and money laundering here.

“Last March, the Paris prosecutor estimated that French citizens had been defrauded to the tune of €4.5 billion ($4.8 billion) in the past six years, with much of this fraud emanating from Israel.

“A half billion euros of this fraud, according to French authorities, was due to the fake CEO scam and about €4 billion was due to binary options and forex fraud.

“The FBI estimates that binary options fraudsters steal $10 billion annually from victims all over the world. Israeli Police have made almost no arrests in connection to binary options and forex, despite the fact that thousands of Israelis are employed in the widely fraudulent industry.

“In a related development, on February 24, French magistrates referred two French-Israeli alleged masterminds of carbon-VAT fraud to French criminal court for trial, AFP reported.

“The two men, Cyril Astruc and Gregory Zaoui, along with 12 others, will soon face trial, despite the fact that six of the suspects are fugitives from French justice abroad.

“Astruc and Zaoui are suspected of being behind a company called Crepuscule (or Twilight) which allegedly stole nearly €146 million ($155 million) of VAT taxes from the French government between April 2008 and March 2009.

“The Crepuscule case is one of about 15 separate cases proceeding through the French justice system that are related to carbon-VAT fraud, which has been dubbed ‘the swindle of the century’ in France.

“In the years 2008 and 2009, multiple groups of fraudsters took advantage of differing tax rules in different EU countries to buy and sell carbon credits, or permission to emit carbon dioxide, on exchanges in Europe.

“The fraudsters would buy the credits in a country with no value-added tax, and quickly sell them in France or other countries that did charge VAT. Generally, merchants have 90 days to remit the VAT they collect to the French government. The fraudsters took advantage of this time window to divert the money offshore and transfer it through a series of shell companies until it effectively vanished.

“The French government has estimated it lost €1.6 billion ($1.7 billion) in unpaid VAT taxes this way and the total loss to all European countries is estimated at between €5-10 billion.”

“In France, where an estimated €1.6 billion was stolen, many of the suspects were French Jews who either had or later obtained Israeli citizenship. One such network, headed by Arnaud Mimran and Marco Mouly, stole €283 million in VAT taxes. Much of this crime, according to a Haaretz investigative report, was carried out from the perpetrators’ computers in offices in Tel Aviv.

“Mimran and Mouly were each sentenced to eight years in prison by a French court last July. However, several of their co-conspirators were sentenced in absentia and are believed to be living freely in Israel.

“In the transcript of Mimran’s first interrogation by French police in the case, he said explicitly that he financed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 re-election campaign to the tune of $200,000. Netanyahu has said Mimran only gave him $40,000 in 2001. This claim is contradicted by the French police record.

“Zaoui had fled France in 2014, lived for some time in Israel, and was arrested at the Paris airport in Roissy in March 2016. Zaoui is suspected of having set up and conducted the fraud on behalf of the Crepuscule company but the investigations do not show that he benefited from the fraud.

“According to French investigative magazine, Mediapart, some of the Crepuscule money went to offshore companies that are financially linked to the South American Sinaloa cartel and cocaine trafficking.”

“In addition, French authorities told The Times of Israel in May 2016 that there is overlap between the French-Israeli owners of fraudulent binary options and forex companies and some of the perpetrators of carbon-VAT scams.”

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