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Mob boss, suspected of extortion in SA, arrested in Israel



A criminal mob boss who was arrested in Israel is suspected of trying to blackmail Jewish businessmen in South Africa who specialise in crypto-currency. According to Israeli media, Yossi Mosley (sometimes translated as Musli or Mosli) was arrested on Sunday, 21 August, three days after attending his daughter’s wedding, for which he returned to Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Mosley was involved in placing a stun grenade near the home of one of these Jewish South African businessmen when he refused to co-operate with him.

“When they refused to give in to his blackmail, he arranged through his people in South Africa to threaten them and place a stun gun at the entrance to the house of one of them,” a police source told the Mako news site. “The suspicions against him are serious. We have enough evidence against him in this case,” the source continued.

This isn’t the first time that he has been arrested, and not the first time he and his family’s crimes have been linked to South Africa. Back in 2015, when Mosley was serving 11 years in prison, his brother, Shay Mosley, was arrested in South Africa by local police on an Interpol warrant. He was captured at Montecasino while gambling.

The International Department of the State Prosecutor’s Office launched his extradition to Israel. He was suspected of murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy. However, Shay’s lawyer at the time, Ian Levitt, told the SA Jewish Report this week that the extradition was unsuccessful and that as far as he knows, Shay is still in South Africa.

During Shay’s bail hearing, it was put to the court that he was deeply integrated into the Sephardi community; his family are here, and his children attend local schools; he has never been a person of interest in any investigation in South Africa; and therefore he wasn’t a flight risk.

Meanwhile, Yossi was initially arrested upon his return to Israel two weeks ago. He was then released from house arrest to attend his daughter’s wedding on Thursday, 18 August.

An undercover investigation conducted by the Major and International Crime Investigation Unit (Yachbal) led to the arrest of Yossi on suspicion of threats, extortion by threats, conspiracy to commit a crime, and illegally placing an explosive device.

During Yossi’s daughter’s wedding last week, more than 100 police officers, border police, riot police, and traffic division officers were deployed. They were there to secure the event over concern of escalation due to such a large concentration of high-ranking criminals and their henchmen. Later in the night, two men were arrested nearby for an alleged assassination attempt.

Yossi is suspected of the murder of Avihai Vaknin, killed in February 2017, and of the attempted murders of the criminals Itzik Cohen and Yankal’e Amsalem over which he was initially arrested two weeks ago upon landing in Israel. His family is also previously linked to the assassination of Shimmy Anu, another alleged mobster, who was gunned down near Johannesburg in 2013.

Yossi fled Israel to South Africa in 2017 after several of his criminal associates were arrested. It’s not yet clear whether the authorities in Israel will pursue any co-accused South Africans or Israeli citizens in South Africa.

According to an article in Tablet magazine published in 2019 titled “A field guide to Israel’s organised crime”, Yossi is the boss of his organisation and his “home turf” is south Tel Aviv.

The article explains that the family started out as greengrocers, but are known to police as Israel’s gambling kings, setting up a network of illegal casinos in southern Tel Aviv. Three sons – Yossi, Eli, and Shay – grew the family business, turning it into an international crime organisation that also ran legitimate businesses like a vegetable-distribution operation.

In 2015, the police believed it had all the evidence it needed to bring down the Mosleys, arresting the organisation’s members and accusing them of assassinating a few of their former colleagues who had turned state witnesses. To the embarrassment of the police, the case collapsed in the wake of bad intelligence work as well as the mysterious murder of one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, who was killed when his car exploded.

The Jerusalem Post reported in 2015 that the Mosley family allegedly ran gambling and other criminal enterprises in South Africa as well as casinos in Romania.

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