Ha´aretz English Edition
Sunday, August 11, 2002
Leading Israeli crime figure gunned down in Prague
By Ha'aretz Service
A leading Israeli crime figure, Felix Abutbul, was gunned down
Saturday in front of a casino he owned in Prague.
Police are investigating the possibility that the hit is linked to a dispute Abutbul might have had with Israeli criminals, among them the Alperon family, a well-known underworld clan.
Abutbul's assailants fled the scene of the attack.
Abutbul, 51, cemented his reputation in the crime world when it emerged he was involved in the attempt to kidnap an exiled Nigerian minister - in a suitcase - in London 15 years ago. Some have said that Abutbul, who served six years in a British jail for the crime, was working for the Mossad.
Abutbul who owned gambling joints in Israel, earned the nickname "Netanya's Gambling King." He was considered a prime intelligence target by the Israeli police. He was released from a prison in Israel several months ago after serving a term for assault.
Abutbul, who was known to keep those around him in the dark, steered clear of the media and tried to project the image of a legitimate businessman.
Abutbul's son, Francoise Avital, was charged in March earlier this year with a series of felonies including extortion and assault. The indictment was based on information provided by an undercover agent who posed as his bodyguard.
Another of Abutbul's sons, Assi, was arrested in 2000 on suspicion of involvement in a multi-million shekel fraud involving vacation units in Israel and abroad.