Shay Moslie may prevail in his extradition case
Questions are being asked in the community about why suspected Israeli crime boss Shay Moslie has managed to get bail over the period that his extradition case is being fought, while “Rabbi on the run”, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, has been in prison since April, battling to get bail.
The SA Police Services (SAPS) arrested Moslie at Montecasino in Sandton last October on an extradition warrant from Israel via Interpol. Moslie who is said to have been hiding in South Africa since 2013, is alleged to be the head of one of Israel’s most powerful crime families. He is wanted in Israel on two charges of conspiracy to commit murder and three charges of murder.
After failing to secure bail last year, Moslie appointed Ian Levitt in January of this year as his new legal representative. Advocate Laurance Hodes, SC, is the counsel representing him. The pair managed to secure bail for Moslie in March, pending the outcome of his extradition hearing.
Jewish Report put the question to attorney Ian Levitt during an interview this week: “Why was Moslie’s bail hearing textbook while Berland’s was anything but?” The reason, says Levitt, is that the cases are very different.
In the first instance, says Levitt, “it was alleged by counsel for the state in court that Moslie had ‘fled from Israel to avoid arrest’.
“That’s nonsense,” says Levitt. An Israeli police report clearly states that ‘on June 19, 2013 while the investigation (into Moslie) was still covert…’ Moslie had left the country. On the one hand the State suggests that Moslie ‘fled’ whereas in the papers they admit that he did not even know he was being investigated.
“He had not been aware of any charges against him when he left Israel,” adds Levitt, while Berland did, allegedly, flee and was very aware that he was a fugitive. These facts make Levitt upbeat about Moslie’s prospects of success. He says Israel’s documentation requesting Moslie’s extradition is fatally flawed “on procedural grounds”.
The second important difference Levitt raises is that the main charges against Moslie, namely two charges of conspiracy to commit murder and three of murder, are solely based upon the statement of one single star witness identified only as “AA” as appears from the Israeli charge sheet. In the case against Rabbi Berland, however, there are multiple complainants who would be deemed as credible witnesses.
Levitt’ associate, Peter De Weerdt adds that the Israeli papers clearly indicate that “AA” – who currently is in witness protection in Israel – will “be paid 550 000 shekels to testify against Moslie.
Levitt maintains that the Israeli authorities have also offered “AA” protection from prosecution in respect of 39 other very serious criminal charges pending against him, which could result in him spending the rest of his life in jail.
“AA’s” rap sheet includes multiple murders, “throwing a grenade in a club”, various stabbing and shooting incidents, drug dealing charges, and multiple armed robberies. While Levitt says he holds the Israeli Justice system in high esteem and that it is well-respected globally, he cannot believe that the Israeli justice system could be allowing “AA” such a free ride. This “would never happen in South Africa.”
De Weerdt says South African prosecutors scrutinise the credibility of a potential witness, or group of witnesses. “In a case such as this, it would be considered a ‘double cautionary rule’ as there is only a single witness and there is a risk of him testifying dishonestly to save his own skin.”
During Moslie’s bail hearing in January, it was put to the court that he has support from the community; he is deeply integrated into the Sephardi religious community; his family are here and his children attend local schools; he has never been a person of interest in any investigation here and therefore he is not a flight risk.
The court duly granted him bail with strict conditions – which he has adhered to. Moslie is scheduled next to appear in court on September 26.
Footnote: Due to translation differences between Hebrew and English, Moslie has been spelled in South Africa, Israeli and world media as Musli, Moesli and Moslie. His first name has wavered between Shay and Shai. SAJR verified that the actual court documentation names him as “Shay Moslie”.