Alleged Israeli crime kingpin case remanded
For years, Israeli security officials have been hunting for Shai Musli (pictured above) around the world. He has, allegedly, been hiding out in South Africa since 2012 – lying low and moving often.
Alleged to head one of Israel’s most feared crime families that is claimed to have waged a reign of terror in Tel Aviv and using their connections to the global criminal underworld, including South Africa’s, to remove rivals and expand their empire.
On November 11, Jewish Report first published Israeli’s bail and extradition hearings paired telling how Israeli authorities had sought Musli across the globe, how he came to be arrested, his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court and how he was being held under guard at an undisclosed Gauteng prison. His first appearance led to a remand in custody until later in the month when he would apply for bail.
Israel wants Musli for murders and other crimes appeared on SAJR on November 17 after Musli was again remanded. He had arrived at court under unusually high protection after police received a credible tip-off that there may have been a mob-plot to pry him free from his captors. He was again remanded until last week, and now, to January.
Organised crime is rife in South Africa, says researcher Khalil Goga. “The country is both a source and destination point, as well as a transit route.” Musli and other Israelis are a very small part of the dozens of international criminal syndicates that are believed to operate in South Africa, he says.
Musli’s family have closed ranks, but a brother, who was at the second court hearing but declined to be named, saying the Israeli authorities were lying. “My brother is fine [innocent]. He has done nothing,” he said, as Musli was led into the dock.
South Africa is the ideal place for international criminal syndicates to ply their trade, launder their wealth and expand into new markets through the country’s well-run criminal underworld, which according to security experts is assisted by the police’s crumbling crime intelligence system.
Rivalry and political interference within the police crime intelligence service had hamstrung the unit, according to Institute for Security Studies policing expert Johan Burger, allowing organised crime to flourish.
Organised crime researcher Khalil Goga says these networks are fluid, constantly changing, and difficult to track and investigate. The success of foreign organised crime gangs in South Africa depended on their ability to network with “our criminals, who are incredibly entrepreneurial”.
He said South Africa was targeted by a variety of syndicates dealing in drugs, gold, diamonds, money-laundering, ivory, perlemoen, lobster, stolen goods, cigarettes, credit cards and identity documents.
Professor Mark Shaw, of the University of Cape Town, said organised crime varied from city to city. Cape Town’s criminal underworld was organised, with gangs involved in drugs and protection through extortion.