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Israeli agents behind major international bank-robbery

Israeli linked to major UK theft attempt

The arrest of an Israeli suspected of being a member of a high-tech crime ring which tried stealing 220 million from a Japanese bank in London, shows that Israel is still considered a safe haven for criminals interested in laundering illegally-obtained funds, police said Thursday.

In what has been dubbed by police as Britain's "Bank Hapoalim scandal" a high-tech crime ring, made up of criminals from Israel and abroad, hacked into the Sumitomo Corporation's London offices and tried to steal 220 million.

On Wednesday, in conjunction with investigators from Britain's National High-Tech Crime Unit, investigators from the police's National Fraud Squad arrested Yaron Bolondi, 32, from Holon, suspected to have been a member of the crime ring.

In October the thieves hacked into the bank's server and installed key-logging software used to record bank account holder's usernames and passwords. The thieves then planned to wire transfer the money to ten different bank accounts around the world, including one in Israel which belongs to Bolondi. The attempt ultimately failed but it has raised concerns in Israel and in Britain regarding the threat to banks posed by computer hackers.

Bolondi is known to police for his inolvement in other fraud-related crimes. Police said Thursday they were continuting their investigation to ascertain whether Bolondi acted alone or was, as they suspect, a low-level operative within a larger crime operation.

Police said the probe was not connected to the recently-revealed investigation into allegations that Bank Hapoalim Israel's largest bank laundered hundreds of millions of dollars.


Jerusalem Post, "Israeli linked to major UK theft attempt", 17 March 2005.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 18 March 2005.

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Tags: Israel, attempted, bank, robbery, Israeli, agent, Japanese, bank, steal, UK, Mossad, , conspiracy theories.

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