Investigation into Platinum Widens, The Direction it Should Take?

 

Our Take on Events –

PLATINUM PARTNERS AND THE NUMEROUS FRAUDS AND PONZI SCHEMES

Since 2016, LM has been reporting on Platinum Partners and the various partners and schemes. It is and has always been our position that Platinum Partners, as a firm, has been nothing more and nothing less than one giant Ponzi Scheme, with some pretty frightening tentacles. Platinum Partners’ establishment with the assistance of then Africa Israel employee Jona Rechnitz, along with other members of AFI is all the more unsettling because we believe the earlier Platinum Fund, itself, was partially financed by Lev Leviev and his connection to the Platinum and its partners cannot and should not be ignored, particularly not by law enforcement reviewing all angles.

We will provide continued information to our readers on investigations it becomes available. Having said that, we do not believe that Murray Huberfeld should be given anything but the harshest sentence and we further believe that if the Platinum Partners’ liquidators are looking for all Platinum’s assets they need begin to look at the personal family fortunes of Huberfeld, David Bodner and Huberfeld’s longtime friend and co-partner Mark Nordlicht.

The men involved in Platinum, Black Elk, Echo Therapeutics, and all of the associated businesses and investments, should be scrutinized, bar none. And Jona Rechnitz should not remain unpunished for his involvement. He knew what he was doing when he introduced Norman Seabrook to the Platinum investments that tanked COBA. He knew what he was doing when he elicited money from Hamilton Peralta.

As we mentioned in a previous post, Murray Huberfeld’s attorneys in their remarkable eloquence would have us believe that he is a great altruist, naive and burdened by a scheme he knew nothing about. That is pure and utter nonsense. The many men involved in years and years of frauds and schemes and their associates are savvy, creative and cunning businessmen. These are not men who should be permitted to walk a higher ground because they purport to believe in a “higher authority” [borrowed from an old advertisement]. We have little choice but to give credit where credit is due and these men, in all of their financially lucrative glory, deserve the lions’ share. On the flip side of that very valuable coin, their moral compasses do not necessarily all point in the same directions as their victims’.

There have been thousands of victims over the years. We should be focusing on them: compensation, investment returns, justice and retribution. The money was siphoned off into personal family funds and other investments. And it should be recovered. 

As to COBA and its heralding a $7M recovery for COBA members, that is a financial farce. Murray Huberfeld will be repaying $4M initially with the additional $3M over time. This is utterly reprehensible as he will have use of funds during that time. He will be generating income over the course of that time. Platinum Partners, the fund, the individuals, should all be repaying COBA and its members, plus interest, investment losses and other compensation. Only then should those currently in charge take pride in their recovery.

 

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Platinum Partners Hedge Fund Investigation Reportedly Widens

 

The Platinum Partners saga may have further twists in store.

The New York-based hedge fund has begun liquidating its funds, after the firm’s longtime associate Murray Huberfeld was accused last month of arranging for a $60,000 kickback to be delivered — in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag — to a correctional officers’ union official in exchange for directing the union’s retirement fund investments to Platinum.

Now, Platinum and its chief investment officer, Mark Nordlicht, may face scrutiny as the probe widens, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Platinum’s woes began with the June 8 announcement of bribery charges against Huberfeld and Norman Seabrook, president of the New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

Prosecutors say that Huberfeld, through an intermediary, arranged for the delivery of the kickback to Seabrook after the union official directed $20 million in union investments into the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund. Huberfeld then arranged for the hedge fund to reimburse the intermediary for the kickback using a fraudulent invoice for the purchase of New York Knicks basketball tickets, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Both Seabrook and Huberfeld pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.

The fund itself had not been implicated in the criminal case against Huberfeld, whom prosecutors describe as a co-founder and manager at Platinum, claiming he was not listed on the firm’s registration documents to avoid scrutiny. Huberfeld has been previously fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Federal agents raided Platinum’s office in late June, after the charges were announced, as part of an investigation that’s reportedly separate from the bribery case. And there are other rumblings of wider fallout.

Since its founding in 2003, Platinum Partners has appeared to be one of the world’s best-performing hedge funds, claiming a 17% annual return for its main fund as of last fall. But the firm has made investments in assets that are potentially hard to value or liquidate, such as private placements in a distressed company’s debt. These are known in accounting parlance as “Level 3” assets, which have significant “unobservable” value inputs. Nearly all of Platinum’s investments are Level 3, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the illiquid investments are several that have raised eyebrows. In 2007, according to SEC investigators, Platinum created a subsidiary called BDL Group for the purpose of investing in variable annuities for hospice patients, which paid out a bonus when the patient died. Several involved in the plan agreed to pay settlement fines to the SEC, but Platinum and Nordlicht were not accused of wrongdoing.

Other Platinum investments include financing for payday lenders, which offer short-term loans at the equivalent of a 400% annual rate or higher. The industry has long been the target of regulatory crackdowns.

Platinum’s payday borrowers include CashCall, according to Bloomberg. CashCall has been suedby the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for allegedly charging interest in excess of what state laws allow; the company contests those claims and the case is pending in federal court in Los Angeles.

All of this adds up to signals that, at best, it may take Platinum some time to liquidate its funds, a subject that was already making some investors antsy. Two prominent investors reported Platinum to the SEC in November for non-payment of redemptions, according to The Observer.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, now says that the investigation into Platinum is examining whether it overstated the value of its holdings, or paid out exiting investors from new investments or borrowings. A Platinum spokesperson rejected those claims in a statement to the Journal.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

The Prevezon Story, Throwback to 2012 – The Money Flow, Denis Katsyv and Millions Never Recovered

 

Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian lawyer with connections to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner during the 2016 election, Photo Date: July 2017 / Photo: MSNBC / (MGN)

 

The Magnitsky Affair 2012 – Finding the Connections AND THE 100’S OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

Dear Reader:

In 2012 through a joint effort of OCCRP, Novaya Gazeta nd Barrons an extensive report was published which, in pertinent part, laid out what appeared to be a frighteningly detailed account of the money trail leading to the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergein Magnitsky. Magnitsky died slowly of abuse and neglect in a Russian pirson. He had been accused of a tax theft on the magnitude of  $230 Million  or what was the equivalent of 5.4billion Russian Rubles, which had disappeared. He maintained his innocence to his grave.

He had been accused of the theft of Russian tax money, despite being the whistle blower who had reported the money missing.  To many at the time, and even those questioned now, it all made little if any sense. The money was being hidden as part of a larger conspiracy which included influential Russian and US families, most of which were heavily invested in the real estate business.

The entire sordid affair became known in legal and journalistic circles as the “Magnitsky Affair.” Most of the money was never recovered, and it was widely believed that he had been murdered by the Russian government in what may have been a join operation between the Russian government and several wealthy Jewish families, the most notable of which was Lev Leviev and Alexander Litvak who was director of Prevezon Holdings Ltd, which was a foreign registered business in Brooklyn. 

What makes the story so interesting now, a  little more than 6 years later, is that Prevezon Holdings is not only connected to Leviev, but also to the family of Jared Kushner who, it is widely  known has had dealings with Leviev, both in the diamond industry and in Leviev’s Africa-Israel land dealings. What makes the story even more interesting is the recent arrest of  Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney who had meetings with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manaford in the Trump Tower in 2016.

There are no coincidences. 

We suggest that you refer to the original article below, republished only in part, and the many attachments to that article. It was very comprehensive. It is our position that there are properties in Manhattan, which we believe also includes some of the most iconic buildings including Mahattan’s Chrysler Building wihhc was just put up for sale. There are others connected to the Magnitsky affair.

We maintain that you need not look very far to find the connections dating back to 2012, and the many millions in uncovered money is likely within walking distance as well.

https://www.reportingproject.net/proxy/en/following-the-magnitsky-money

Following the Magnitsky Money

BUNICON HEADQUARTERS

“The Money Flow

The scam began with a Russian police raid on the offices of Magnitsky’s client:  Hermitage Capital Management investment fund. People impersonating company employees then used official stamps and documents seized in the raid and pled guilty to various crimes. The company was fined amounts that offset the company’s earnings for the year, and the impersonators then filed for a giant tax refund.

Three phantom businesses, shell companies that exist only on paper, applied at Moscow tax offices #28 and #25 on behalf of Hermitage for a refund which was instantly granted.  Magnitsky, who reported the fraud, believed wrongly that if officials only knew what was happening they would react. They reacted by imprisoning him for tax evasion, demanding he write a confession, denying him medical care and beating him repeatedly. He lasted one year dying in 2009.

In 2009 and 2011, secret trials in Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court fixed legal blame for what was a massive, arcane scam on two low-level ex-convicts: sawmill worker Viktor Markelov, once found guilty of manslaughter, and a robber,– Vyacheslav Khlebnikov.

Both pled guilty. Both got minimum sentences of five years in a correctional colony. They were not even ordered to pay back the stolen money. Irina Dudukina, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Department of the Russian police, announced to the public that it was impossible to find the refund money because documents of the Moscow bank UBS were burned up in a truck crash. She had no details on when or where this crash occurred or why the documents were in a truck. And she didn’t specify why investigators didn’t try to get the same documents from the Russian Central Bank, which had copies of many of the transactions.

No government executive or bureaucrat involved in the deals that sparked the rebate, in the illicit tax refund, or in Magnitsky’s death has ever been charged with anything.

A government investigation concluded that the tax officials who handed out the rebates had been tricked by fraudsters, so it was not their fault.

Tracking the Money

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Banking records of the three companies that got the illegal tax refund — Makhaon, Parfenion and Rilend — show that the stolen money dissipated into phantom companies through thousands of banking transactions. Soon after these transactions, the three companies dissolved. Phantom companies fronted by proxy shareholders and directors designed to hide the real owners, made certain for years that who really was benefitting from the huge heist remained a secret.

OCCRP reporters worked out a money trail that Russian officials were either unable or unwilling to follow.

In January and the beginning of February 2008, for example, Parfenion wired $63 million USD to the bank accounts of two phantom companies: ZhK and Fausta .  Another transaction took place directly where Fausta sent $21 million USD to ZhK’s accounts.

ZhK, which received in total about $39 million USD, was established in November 2003, by Marta Dmitrieva of Moscow. Dmitrieva told OCCRP reporters that while, yes, she did file documents with the tax office, she knew nothing of ZhK.

“I have never been a shareholder or director of the company,” she said. “I didn’t have a job, and I found an Internet commercial that said there was a possibility to work as courier and applicant for different companies.”

The sole shareholder of ZhK was Anatoly Dvoinikov from the village of Poselki in the Penzenskaya region, 640 kilometers from Moscow. Court records OCCRP reviewed show that Dvoinikov is likely a proxy shareholder and the director of many phantom companies.

In November 2008, ZhK was folded into a new commercial entity along with two other companies. The address of this new corporate creation was in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, more than 6,400 kilometers from Moscow.

Russian organized crime commonly uses the tactic of reorganizing companies to cover up fraud.

Fausta, the other company that got money from Parfenion – about $45 million USD — was registered in July 2007 by Sergey Kirillov from Moscow.  Kirillov told OCCRP he did not establish the company.

“I don’t know anything about this company,” he said. “Nobody asked me to establish it. Maybe some people got my passport details from banks where I took loans.”

In March 2008, just a month after getting the Parfenion millions, Fausta was dissolved, according to the Russian Tax Service.  Fausta’s banking records show that the money went from its bank account into the bank account of Univers another Moscow company.

Univers was registered in October 2007 with Natalya Senchukova listed as the sole shareholder and director. The Russian state commercial registry lists her as a shareholder in more than 30 companies and she is likely another proxy.

In November 2008, Univers was reorganized too in much the way ZhK had been. It was folded in with another company and the headquarters also were moved from Moscow to Vladivostok.

OCCRP has obtained documents showing that the same registration agents reorganized both Univers and ZhK.

Univers received money from Rilend and Makhaon, too. But bank records show that these transactions were made not directly, but through an intermediary company, called Anika.

From the accounts of Univers and ZhK in Sberbank, the largest state-owned bank in Russia, and in Mosstroyeconombank, a small Moscow bank, money went into what is called a “correspondent bank account” held by tiny Krainiy Sever bank in one of Russia’s biggest banks, Alfa Bank. Small banks commonly keep correspondent accounts within large banks so that they can more easily make foreign money transfers.

From Feb. 5-13, 2008, $33 million poured into to Krainiy Sever’s correspondent account from Univers and ZhK. OCCRP has obtained court documents from cases unrelated to the Magnitsky case which indicates that this account has been a major recipient of money stolen from the Russian budget. Court decisions mention a number of phantom companies (including Starmiks, Optimtorg) which wired money to this account. (Doc1Doc2Doc3Doc4Doc5).

Police files OCCRP has obtained also mention many of these companies including ZhK, Univers, Starmiks, Optimtorg, as phantom firms used to launder money stolen from the Russian budget in December 2007.

The Krainiy Sever account was used as a kind of “border point” from which money flowed to companies registered abroad.

On Feb. 13, 2008, a Russian court ordered that account seized and a month later the Central Bank of the Russian Federation cancelled Krainiy Sever’s banking license for violation of the law “to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism”.

In a press release the Central Bank said that Krainiy Sever managers had lost control of their Moscow subsidiary. Court records show that during two weeks in February of 2008, bank clients, mostly phantom companies, suspiciously wired $300 million into bank accounts in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Cyprus belonging to companies from the United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Belize .

OCCRP got in touch with an ex-police officer who investigated money laundering proceeds in Krainiy Sever.

“When we raided the Moscow office of the bank, we met a guy there with a laptop from which he wired billions of rubles to different countries through the Internet. The guy was crying that he is from the FSB [Federal Security Service, the main secret service in Russia] and promised us a lot of problems”, said a former law enforcement officer who asked that his name not be mentioned for fear of retribution.”

 

“Denis Katsyv

DENIS KATSYVDenis Katsyv the owner of Prevezon Holding is the son of Petr Katsyv, the wealthy and powerful former minister of transportation in the Moscow regionAnother company which received Russian money from Moldova is Prevezon Holdings Ltd owned by Denis Katsyv, the son of Petr Katsyv, the wealthy and powerful former minister of transportation in the Moscow region.  Petr Katsyv is considered one of the wealthiest civil servants in Russia. According to Forbes Magazine he is worth more than $4 million in 2012, and real estate records OCCRP obtained show the son is worth far more.  In 2012 the father left his ministerial post to head the General Department of Moscow Region for Cooperation with Federal Authorities.

On Feb. 5, 2008, Bunicon received rubles equivalent to $9.4 million USD in 2008 exchange rates in two transactions from the correspondent account of the Krainiy Sever bank. The next day Bunicon sent $410,000 to Prevezon’s account at the Swiss bank UBS AG.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Elenast received the equivalent of $800,000 USD from the same correspondent account, and transferred more than half of that amount to Prevezon.

Records from the Cyprus commercial registry show Prevezon Holdings Ltd was registered in 2005 and is owned by Denis Katsyv (1000 shares) and a company called Martash Investment Holdings Ltd from the British Virgin Islands (1 share). Martash Investments is also owned by Denis Katsyv.

Denis Katsyv told OCCRP that his company never dealt with any companies from Moldova.

“I am really surprised to hear that,” he said. “I give you 200 percent that it is impossible. I am ready to help you in your investigation and show the banking statement of Prevezon to prove that it never received such money.”

Katsyv never showed the statement.  Instead he called reporters and said he became shareholder in Prevezon only in April 2009 and had nothing to do with any Moldovan money.  Records from the Cyprus commercial registry show Katsyv actually became a shareholder in June 2008, a few months after the transfers.  Prevezon’s sole shareholder at the time of the transfers, Timofey Krit, is Katysv’s current business partner and the director of Prevezon.

Other Problems

This is not the first time the Katsyv family has run afoul of the law. In 2010, the Katsyv family was mentioned in a money-laundering case of Israeli bank Hapoalim which was investigated by Israeli authorities.

According to court records OCCRP obtained, millions of dollars were transferred through Katsyv-controlled accounts at the bank.  Israeli prosecutors insisted that bank managers concealed the real beneficiaries of this accounts in violation of anti-money-laundering rules. But their lawyers blamed Katsyv’s business for the bank’s problems. The court eventually agreed and found the bank managers not guilty.

According to the judgment, Katsyv’s company Martash Investment had to sign a secret agreement with the Israeli government to avoid indictment.

“If the clients of the bank [Katsyv family] had denied signing the agreement, they would have faced charges and an indictment. The situation described by the lawyer [for Hapoalim managers] leads to the conclusion that the clients of the bank, who are the main culprits, apparently bought their freedom for money,” the final ruling in the case says.

New York Properties

The Katsyv family owns more than $17 million in New York real estate alone despite a new US law that says those who benefited from the Magnitsky case cannot enter the country.

On Nov. 12, 2009, the Katsyv-owned Prevezon Holdings Ltd registered itself as a foreign business corporation in Brooklyn and on Nov. 30 that year Katsyv’s company set up a US business. Two weeks later it signed a deed on a condominium at Pine Street in Manhattan, for $829,000. The same day Prevezon Holding Ltd signed another deed and bought a second condo in the building for $1.2 million. Alexander Litvak, director of Prevezon Holdings Ltd, signed both deeds.

BUNICONLev Leviev’s group of companies, Africa Israel-AFI, opened shopping malls all over the world. AFI Palace is the biggest shopping mall in Romania.

The New York State Division of Corporations lists seven companies with names similar to Prevezon Holding Ltd that together own more than $17 million in New York real estate. Property records show that all the similarly named companies are affiliated with the same directors and managers, including Litvak and Krit, current director of Cyprus-based Prevezon. Some also own other New York City properties including five units in a luxury condominium complex at 20 Pine Street in the heart of Wall Street. A number of these are currently for sale for between $1 and $2 million each.

Katsyv’s businesses are closely tied to another controversial figure: Russian oligarch Lev Leviev.  Leviev and Katsyv’s businesses often trade assets. (see Leviev story)

While the money trail leads to Stepanov and Katsyv, they are not the only persons involved with the Magnitsky money.  The whereabouts of hundreds of millions of dollars still missing lie unlocked in other banking records that are still to be checked.”

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

 

A Jewel of a Statement, Rechnitz and Comments – Missing Jewelry and Hookers – Why is he Deemed Credible?

Image result for pics of jona rechnitz and jeremy reichberg

Corrupt donor to Mayor de Blasio completes list of his misdeeds in court: ‘you’re missing jewelry and hookers’

 

After eight days on the stand, corrupt Mayor de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz ran out of patience and helped a defense attorney complete a list of his many misdeeds.

 

“You’re missing jewelry and hookers,” Rechnitz said in Manhattan Federal Court Wednesday, drawing guffaws from the audience filled with people who loathe him.

The comment came as Susan Necheles, an lawyer for police buff Jeremy Reichberg, wrote a list titled “alleged bribes” that was shown to a jury.

 

Rechnitz’s bribes were broken down into three categories: gifts, meals, entertainment and trips.

“You should put ‘hookers’ everywhere,” Rechnitz said, later correcting himself to say he did not use prostitutes as bribes while on trips to Los Angeles and Israel.

Rechnitz is testifying against Reichberg, his former friend, and ex-NYPD Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant. Rechnitz has said he donated over $100,000 to de Blasio’s pet causes early in the mayor’s tenure in exchange for access to City Hall. Rechnitz also says he and Reichberg showered cops, including Grant, with gits in exchange for police favors that made them look like big shots.

 

The gifts, according to Rechnitz, included a prostitute on a 2013 private flight to Las Vegas, as well as call girls on trips to the Dominican Republic and Miami for an SEC bowl game.

To read the original article click here.

Rechnitz – Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures, And this is the Trustworthy Informant?

THE NEW YORK POST

De Blasio donor admits to privately bashing mayor at NYPD corruption trial

Even as he was getting cozy with the mayor publicly, he was criticizing him privately.

Mayor de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz admitted at trial on Tuesday that he once sent his friends a photo of himself and Hizzoner with the caption “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Rechnitz admitted to the snarky comment at the trial of Jeremy Reichberg, who is accused of teaming up with Rechnitz to bribe high-ranking NYPD cops.

Reichberg’s lawyer raised the insult in an effort to raise doubts about Rechnitz’s claims that he had grown close to Hizzoner after he and Reichberg raised big money for de Blasio’s 2013 election.

Rechnitz insisted, however, that his donations and other fundraising bought him and Reichberg special privileges that other New Yorkers couldn’t get, including the mayor’s ear on issues.

“I got access. I got a very quick ­response. If you look at some of the ­e-mails, you see he responds within minutes,” Rechnitz said.

Reichberg is on trial for corrupting cops, including his co-defendant, ex-NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant. Reichberg has not been charged with bribing or attempting to bribe public officials, but Rechnitz testified to it anyway.

A Jewel of a Trial, The Ring of NYPD Payoffs -for-favors… and Leviev -seeing RED

Floral Park Police Chief Stephen McAllister, formerly an

 

Star federal witness tells of NYPD payoffs-for-favors at corruption trial

Star federal witness Jona Rechnitz on Wednesday finished two days of direct testimony in the NYPD payoffs-for-favors corruption trial in Manhattan federal court that detailed ties to an array of top cops including Stephen McAllister, now the Floral Park police chief.

Rechnitz, appearing at the trial of ex-business-partner Jeremy Reichberg and former NYPD deputy inspector James Grant, said McAllister — formerly an NYPD inspector — was among the circle of cop pals he and Reichberg plied with gifts to get their official help.

“I had bought him a Chopard watch, had given him a free diamond for his daughter who was getting engaged,” Rechnitz testified. “And there were other jewelry and types of things that we did for him as well in addition to meals that we paid for.”

In return, Rechnitz said, McAllister helped get rid of protesters outside a jewelry store owned by Rechnitz’s controversial multimillionaire Israeli boss Lev Leviev, and was probably “involved” in providing VIP treatment when Leviev visited New York with a police escort and closure of a lane in the Lincoln Tunnel.

“Lev had told me this was the treatment he gets in Russia,” Rechnitz recalled. “He was quite impressed.”

Prosecutors say Rechnitz and Reichberg, both real estate investors, generated a wave of police and political corruption with pay-to-play contributions to Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as payoffs to cops including Grant — ranging from free meals and hotel stays to plane trips, home repairs and prostitutes — to try to enhance their clout in circles of power.

Rechnitz pleaded guilty to multiple charges and agreed to cooperate in hopes of leniency. Former deputy chief Michael Harrington has pleaded guilty in the case. Other uncharged cops like McAllister have been discussed at trial in prosecutors’ effort to prove Reichberg’s intent.

McAllister joined Floral Park’s police force in 2010, and his $245,000 a year contract as chief was extended for two years in April, after a village investigation. McAllister’s lawyer Joel Weiss, responding to a description of Rechnitz’s testimony, issued a statement calling it “replete with falsehoods.”

Apparently, Mr. Rechnitz has never met a lie he didn’t like,” Weiss said. “It’s noteworthy that, in the face of all his allegations, the Government has charged Mr. McAllister with nothing, nothing at all.”

The trial began Nov. 5. Along with claiming McAllister helped impress Rechnitz’s one-time boss while at the NYPD, Rechnitz repeated previous testimony that as Floral Park chief McAllister arranged bogus appointments as police chaplains and clergy liaison with parking placards for he and Reichberg.

In addition to jewelry, he testified, McAllister was treated to free meals at Manhattan eateries such as Abigail’s and The Prime Grill, got a free plane trip back from a football championship game in Miami, and had Rechnitz and Reichberg donate to the NYPD football team and a Nassau County golf tournament.

In addition to pictures of McAllister dining with Rechnitz, Reichberg and fellow cops, prosecutors introduced a 2013 email chain in which McAllister — “PC FPPD” — told Rechnitz he needed more time to arrange a dinner meeting with another chief, and then added, “Ask Jeremy status of ring?”

Rechnitz provided few details of the aid McAllister gave to impress Leviev, the head of Africa-Israel Investments whose role in the diamond trade  has been controversial.

He testified that McAllister requested a $25,000 donation to the NYPD football team when he was asked for help with protests outside Leviev’s Madison Avenue store. It was provided, and after that there was “more of a police presence” and the protesters “got quiet right away,” Rechnitz said.

When Leviev visited New York, Rechnitz said, he got police escorts in New Jersey and in New York City, as well as the cleared lane in the Lincoln Tunnel. Rechnitz said Reichberg set it up, and testified he thought McAllister was involved, citing his NYPD football contacts with officials at the Port Authority and in New Jersey.

Rechnitz is scheduled to be cross-examined when the trial resumes on Thursday.

LLD’s Story versus the Investigation Story – the Death of Mazal Hadadi

differences

The Many Inconsistencies Between the LLD Story and the Investigation Team Regarding the Death of Mazal Hadadi

The chart is from the below article in Hebrew sets forth the many inconsistencies between the versions given to the press by Lev Leviev’s company LLD and the police on the night of and immediately following the death of Mazal Hadadi, an LLD bookkeeper. 
In the Red is the LLD version and in the blue is the Police version. The top row: “Reasons for death” LLD version – intolerable pressure on the employee as a result of the investigation was the reason for her death. The police version – they have reviewed the LLD claim and there is no connection between the handling of her interrogation and her death. Second column: “Information provided on the night of her death” LLD’s version “We are taking every step to provide all of the possible information and are reviewing all of the sides and believe that a picture is being painted that is causing damage to the information sources” [rough translation] The police version “The details provided by the company are inconsistent with the findings.”

At a later date, we will provide a better translation and hopefully this will get picked up by some of the English language papers which, despite the details often left out, are far better at translating than we are.

 Suffice it to say, there are inconsistencies between the two stories and we remain firm in our belief that LLD wanted to write a narrative that would be accepted by the public, namely that police pressure caused the death [by suicide] of Mazal Hadadi. 

 

Mazal Hadadi’s husband and children have stated that under no circumstances would she have killed herself. In other words, there is no amount of police pressure that would have caused her to toss herself out a 10th floor window. WE 

She returned from the train station after work to a floor on which she generally does not work. There are then about 40 minutes missing from her whereabouts as she entered the building to the time she died. We can’t say that anyone at the company actually pushed her out the window – we are not the investigation team. We can say that we believe she was pushed and the location of the death was to provide a shining example of what will happen to anyone who speaks to the investigators.

Mazal Hadadi was no fool. If the books were being cooked, even if she did not know it, LLD would have done everything in patterns, same time, same day, same week, same year, etc. There will not be any definable movement of money or diamonds that would look obvious. But if one of those times, or days, or movements was off, so were the rest. Hadadi likely could have found the pattern and provided details and we would guess she likely kept a record for herself, even if she had no reason to question the movements of money, inventory or whatever aspect was within her purview. 

מרביתם למדו זאת מציוץ של העיתונאי-הכתב לענייני משפט, גיא פלג, של חברת החדשות, אולם עדיין לא ידעו במי מדובר ובאיזו פרשה נחקרת. שמות משוערים רבים עלו בתקשורת, אך נראה כי במערכות השונות לא שיערו כי מדובר במנהלת חשבונות זוטרה בחברת LLD שבבעלות לב לבייב, אם לשלושה, בשנות ה-40 לחייה. מדובר בעובדת שנחקרה באזהרה מספר ימים קודם לכן במסגרת פרשת “יהלום שחור”, שבמסגרתה נחקר החשד להברחת יהלומים ולהלבנת הון על-ידי חברת LLD בשווי של כ-300 מיליון שקל.

עד מהרה ההשערות הפכו למציאות. פחות משעתיים בלבד לאחר המקרה הטרגי, נחתה הודעת חברת LLD אצל הכתבים, שממנה למדו כמעט כולם על זהות המנוחה. בהודעת LLD נכתב, בין היתר: “אנו ננקוט את כל הצעדים העומדים לרשותנו על-מנת לסייע לחקר מותה, ועל-מנת לשים קץ לתופעות קשות של רמיסת זכויות נחקרים וגרימת נזקים בלתי הפיכים, מתוך רצון לייצר כותרות תקשורתיות”.

וכך, במשפט אחד, מסגרה חברת LLD את השיח שאפיין את העיסוק התקשורתי הנרחב בפרשה בימים שלאחר מכן. עוד באותו ערב, שיגרה החברה הודעות עם פרטים הנוגעים, לטענתה, למקרה, תדרכה עיתונאים והעבירה חומרים התומכים בתזה, שלפיה מי שאחראים למותה של המנוחה, הם חוקרי המשטרה, שהפעילו עליה לחץ בלתי מידתי בחקירתה. כך, נחשפו הכול למכונת יחסי ציבור משומנת היטב, המבקשת מאיתנו להסיק מסקנות על התנהלות המשטרה בפרשה.

כל זאת, יוזכר, בזמן שחברת LLD מנהלת משא-ומתן מול רשויות אכיפת החוק בישראל, בנוגע להגעת בעליה, לב לבייב, לארץ לשם חקירתו בפרשה; ויום לפני הדיון בבקשת החברה לשחרור נכסיה שחולטו כחלק מהחקירה בפרשה.

עוד בנושא דין וחשבון

בלית ברירה, נאלצה משטרת ישראל למסור תגובה מטעמה עוד באותו ערב, שבה התייחסה להודעה שהוציאה החברה. בהודעת המשטרה נאמר כי “הפרטים שהובאו בהודעה לוקים באי-דיוקים מהותיים”.

המהירות שאפיינה את מערך יחסי הציבור המשומן היטב של LLD, כמו גם את קביעת המשטרה כי הפרטים שהובאו בהודעת החברה לוקים באי-דיוקים מהותיים, וזאת עוד בטרם החלה חקירת המשטרה בעניין – היו אולי ראויים פחות לאיזכור, אלמלא הפערים העצומים שהתגלו בין גרסת המשטרה לגרסת LLD, ובייחוד לאור מספר אי-דיוקים שכבר כעת ניתן להצביע עליהם בגרסה שהציגה החברה ביום האירוע וביום שלמחרת.

אגב, מאז מסרבים בחברה למסור פרטים נוספים ולהשיב על שאלות, ומותירים את הזירה התקשורתית למשפחה ולרסיסי המידע שמגיעים מהמשטרה באופן לא רשמי.

שיחה עם עורך דין – שתי גרסאות

ההודעה המהירה של החברה של לבייב שהטילה על המשטרה את האשמה למות העובדת, לא מפחיתה כהוא זה מהחשיבות הרבה שיש לייחס לשאלות המטרידות שעולות ביחס להתנהלות המשטרה במסגרת החקירה של פרשת “יהלום שחור”. בפרשה זו נמתחה ביקורת, לעתים חסרת תקדים בחריפותה, על התנהלות המשטרה מצד שופט בית משפט השלום בראשון-לציון, גיא אבנון, עוד מהדיון הראשון להארכות המעצר של החשודים בפרשה.

נושאים נוספים בהם תוכל/י להתעדכן

בנוסף, סנגורי החשודים העלו כבר מתחילת הפרשה טענות קשות על התנהלות המשטרה בעניינם של החשודים בפרשה, טענות שהלכו והחריפו עם התקדמות החקירה, והגיעו לשיא לפני כשבועיים. זאת, כאשר מנעה המשטרה מפגש של חשוד עם עורכת דינו. מדובר בטענות מהותיות וחשובות, שראוי שיישמעו ויקבלו מקום מרכזי, כפי שביקשה חברת LLD כי ייעשה.

כמו כן, כפי שפורסם ביום ראשון ב”גלובס”, גם לבכירים לשעבר במערכת אכיפת החוק, סנגורים בכירים ודמויות בולטות מהאקדמיה, יש ביקורת נוקבת על התנהלות המשטרה בחדרי החקירות. גם הם מבקשים לרתום את העיסוק התקשורתי באירוע, על-מנת לשטוח את טענותיהם בדבר רמיסת זכויות חשודים.

ועם כל אלה, היום כבר ניתן לומר, במידה גבוהה של ודאות, כי חלק מהפרטים שמסרה חברת LLD באותו ערב נורא, התבררו כשגויים. כך, למשל, באותו ערב שבו אירע האירוע הטרגי מסרו גורמים בסביבת החברה כי למנוחה לא התאפשר להיוועץ עם עורך דין. לעומת זאת, מסביבת המשטרה נודע כי למנוחה הוצע להיוועץ עם עורך דין מספר פעמים.

לאור דבריו של בעלה של המנוחה בכלי התקשורת השונים, כיום כבר ברור כי ללא כל קשר לשאלה – כיצד נהגו בעובדת  המנוחה חוקרי המשטרה, הרי שלפחות בנוגע לזכות ההיוועצות נראה שהם קיימו את חובתם. בעלה של המנוחה העיד כי החוקר שהתקשר אליו באמצע חקירתה הפציר בהם לשכור את שירותיו של עורך דין. אמנם הבעל מתאר זאת כאמצעי לחץ שהופעל על רעייתו הנחקרת, אך לאור דבריו נראים דברי החברה כלא מדויקים, בלשון המעטה.

 

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Police Not Negotiating Terms with Leviev for Interrogation

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Police refuse to negotiate terms with Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev

Diamond magnate suspected of smuggling goods worth £62.7 million into the country

Israeli police are refusing to negotiate terms over how to question the diamond magnate Lev Leviev, who faces allegations of money laundering and smuggling.

Dozens of employees in Mr Leviev’s LLD conglomerate have been questioned in the investigation — codenamed “Black Diamond” — under which several close associates and family members, including his son Zvulun, have been arrested and since released to house arrest.

Police suspect that, alongside the legal import of diamonds from Mr Leviev’s factory in Russia, LLD employees smuggled undocumented diamonds worth around 300 million shekels (£62.7 million) into Israel over the past decade.

Diamonds, bank accounts and private property belonging to Mr Leviev and LLD have been confiscated as part of the investigation.

Mr Leviev has said he is willing to be questioned in Russia, where he is presently based, or to travel to Israel on condition he is then permitted once again to leave.

A police spokesman said: “we do not negotiate with suspects before questioning.

“[He] will be questioned when he arrives in Israel. We do not agree to any preliminary conditions.”

But the investigation took a tragic turn last week when Mazal Hadadi, a 42 year-old book-keeper at LLD, fell to her death from the tenth floor of the Diamond Exchange building in Ramat Gan.

Police are treating her death as a suicide, although some of relatives claimed she may have been murdered.

Sources in LLD have accused the police of aggressively questioning and pressuring Ms Hadadi.

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Three suspects arrested in connection with the alleged diamond smuggling scheme arrive for a Rishon Letzion court hearing earlier this month (Photo: Flash 90)

Mr Leviev, who has homes in Israel and Russia, emigrated to Israel as a teenager in 1971 and established one of the largest privately-owned diamond trading companies in the world.

He also built up an international real estate empire, Africa’s Israel Investments, which nearly went bankrupt in 2008 global financial crisis.

He had lived for much of the past decade in a mansion in Highgate, north London, on the gated Compton Avenue close to Hempstead Heath.

But last year he relocated to Moscow and has rarely been seen in public since.

It is unclear whether his departure from London was due to police investigations or to the change in Britain’s visa requirements of Russian business-people — which also meant that Mr Leviev’s friend and ally Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, received Israeli citizenship in May and has not returned to Britain since.

Both men are known to be members of the circle of oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Leviev has for years been one of the main patrons of Chabad and has financed its Or Avner education network in the former Soviet Union.