Cherney: Israel Police Head Resigns Amidst Charges Of Criminal Harassment

By Israel News Agency Staff

Jerusalem-----March 26.......Israel General Moshe Mizrahi, ex-Chief Investigator of Israel’s national police and head of its unit mandated to fight international crime, has resigned amidst continuing charges of controversial practices and wrongdoing.

Mizrahi was especially aggressive in pursuing the so-called “Russian Mafia” in Israel, likened by observers and media to a witch hunt that smeared the reputation of many Russian-born businessmen who moved to Israel, depriving Israel’s economy of billions of dollars in investments as a result.

In 2002, a Mizrahi police subordinate exposed illegal wiretapping actions by his boss who reportedly spied on prominent Israel politicians, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman. The Ministry of Justice recommended a criminal investigation of Mizrahi that same year, and in 2004, the official was removed from his position and demoted to head a much smaller police department.

Russian-Israel billionaire Arkady Gaydamak announced he is filing a complaint against Mizrahi for what the Russian characterizes as a politically-inspired investigation launched against him to protect the interests of some of Mizrahi’s personal friends.

Another prominent Israeli philanthropist and businessman Michael Cherney (Mikhail Chernoy) says he now understands why he, too, was haunted by Mizrahi who furnished incorrect information about him to Interpol and the FBI. Mizrahi’s friends held long-standing grudges and financial claims against Cherney. The ex-cop denies these allegations.

Mizrahi’s retirement was welcomed as a timely reform, occurring just before national elections scheduled to take place on March 28, at a time when many candidates are calling for more ethical, fairer systems in Israel.

In 1994, the Russian Mafiya threatened Cherney with compromat. This collection of corrupt political officials, police and competitors demanded a share of his profits. He refused to comply and moved to Israel in 1994. Subsequently, these criminals circulated many unsubstantiated rumors about him to the Russian media. These rumors were then picked up and recirculated by the media and others in Switzerland, England, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Monaco, Austria and Israel, among other places. He was accused of murder, but there was never a body, much less any other evidence of any kind. He was accused of drug trafficking and money laundering, but these charges proved equally false.

When domestic law enforcement officials in these countries were challenged, some responded by saying that Cherney’s activities were so sophisticated that they were impossible to trace. But Cherney tackled the charges one by one, sued in some cases for libel, and in all cases to clear his name. He won in all of them. Over the next several years, courts, law enforcement agencies and even Interpol exonerated Cherney of all rumored illegal activities across Europe and Israel. Only one civil—not criminal—case remains outstanding, in Israel, and most of the accusations in that case have already been dismissed. The rest of the charges are expected to be thrown out soon as well.

Officials throughout Eastern Europe, Europe and Israel have legally documented, with statements and extensive evidence, that Cherney has never committed any crime - never even a traffic violation. In Bulgaria, Cherney won a libel case against those who slandered his good name.

In Israel, Michael Cherney spends much effort on charity and humanitarian projects that reinforce cooperation between Israel and Russia in fighting terrorism. Michael Cherney established a Website for his Foundation on June 1, 2001, the night of the terrorist bombing outside the Dolphinarium Disco in Tel Aviv. When Michael Cherney learned the number of victims - 21 dead and over 150 wounded - he realized that rendering assistance required a systematic organized effort.

Prior to 2001, Cherney was engaged in charity work in Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Bulgaria, the US - wherever he did business. He made valuable contributions into Jewish philanthropy in Russia. Following the Dolphinarium terrorist tragedy, the Cherney Fund became the helping hand for all its victims. In a misfortune like this, emigres from the former Soviet countries are even worse off than those born in Israel: they don't have a support system or savings.

The Cherney Fund, therefore, renders help mostly to the new arrivals, victims of catastrophes and terrorist acts that continue to bleed Israel, as well as to the low-income victims of terror in other countries. Another equally important task assumed by the Cherney Foundation is the media effort in war on terror. Shortly after the Dolphinarium attack, the Foundation published a book called Dolphinarium: Terror Targets the Young. The Michael Cherney Foundation has established grants for students from the former Soviet Union in all major Israel universities with an annual endowment of one million shekels. Mr. Cherney and his family live in a suburb of Tel Aviv.

Cherney feels discriminated against and harassed today by an Israel court preceding where the case centers on a bid by Gad Zeevi and Cherney to acquire 20 percent of Bezeq telecommunications five years ago, stating that Zeevi received credit of $643 million from a consortium of banks headed by FIBI (which serves as Bank Leumi Zurich representation), this in return for a lien on the shares to be purchased and a bank guarantee from FIBI Switzerland amounting to $143 million.

"This case is illegal; it is a frame-up that once again damaged the entire country," said Cherney. "According to some estimates, it cost the Israel economy $7 billion in actual capital transfers to friendlier environments outside Israel. By investing in Israel 's energy sector, infrastructure and hi-tech, prominent Jewish businessmen from the former USSR could make a formidable contribution to Israel 's economy, security and society. It's still not too late; but the Israel government must first realize the error of its ways and openly embrace Russian Jewish investments here. If it does not, Israel will remain a mom-and-pop shop owned by a powerful few. And analysts will keep wondering why it is that rich Jews prefer to invest elsewhere rather than in the land of their forefathers."



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