Chabad Houses have history of criminal activity
by Wayne Madsen
November 29-30, 2008 — Mumbai gangland war and its global tentacles
WMR previously reported that the violent and bloody attack on Mumbai represents a pay-back from exiled Indian Muslim Mumbai gangland warlord Dawood Ibrahim who fears that the CIA was conspiring with the Pakistani government to extradite him from Pakistan to India. Such an event would effectively cede control of Mumbai’s lucrative organized crime territory to Hindu extremist criminal syndicates allied with the Hindu terrorist Shiv Sena group.
The targeting of the Lubavitcher Chabad House in Mumbai, where a New York rabbi and his wife were killed by one team of gangsters that arrived by sea from Pakistan, was likely more score settling by Ibrahim who suspected that Israeli Mafiosi were conspiring with Hindu extremist gangs to supplant Ibrahim’s criminal influence in Mumbai.
There is a history of Chabad Houses not only being used as safehouses and logistics centers for Israeli intelligence but as storefronts for criminal activity. In March 1989, U.S. law enfocement rounded up a criminal network in Seattle, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Colombia, and Israel that involved a Chabad House that was involved in money laundering and currency violations.
The Associated Press reported from Newark, New Jersey that Adi Tal, a former employee of Israel’s El Al Airlines who emigrated to the United States from Israel in 1983, and his chief assistant Nir Goldeshtein, were found guilty by the U.S. District Court in Newark of laundering $25 million. The cash was sent to Panama and Colombia directly and smuggled to Britain, West Germany, and Israel as personal and cashier’s checks, money orders, and cash. The money was then wired to Panamanian bank accounts. Tal and Goldeshtein lived in Edison, New Jersey. They had moved there from Seattle. Goldeshtein had attempted to deposit $437,000 in Citibank’s London branch.
Federal prosecutors said Tal conspired with Jose Stroh, one of the Cali, Colombia drug cartel’s chief money launderers. Sixteen people were indicted in the case but five were never captured. Of the five, Nir Levy, Rea Lev-Ari, and Dov Feldman, escaped to Israel and avoided extradition back to the United States. Among the fugitives was Tal’s recruiter, Enrique Korc of Israel. Among those indicted was Rabbi Sholom Levitin, the founder and head of the Chabad House in Seattle. Tal claimed that the laundered money was Israeli “investments” and Levitin denied knowing that the money he was laundering was illegally obtained. Federal prosecutors said Tal told his “mostly Israeli operatives” that the money was not connected to organized crime but, according to the March 23, 1989 AP report from Newark, told them “the cash came from Israel for investment in the United States or that it was somehow connected to the Mossad, Israel’s secret service.”
UPI reported on March 17, 1989 that one of the Israelis indicted and found guilty, former Israeli Air Force Captain Moshe Begim, said he was told the cash was Mossad money being used to fund anti-Communist guerrillas in Central America. Federal prosecutors described Begim and another member of the Israeli gang, Baruch Zeltzer, as leaders of the Los Angeles and Seattle operations, respectively. Zeltzer lived at the Chabad House in Seattle. Another Seattle Israeli military veteran, Avsholom Hazan, was also found guilty and sentenced to prison. Two Israelis in Begim’s Los Angeles operation, Alon Redko and Guy Marom, also an ex-Israeli Defense Force member, were also found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment. Most of the Israelis indicted were also former employees of El Al.
In 2007, Israeli police arrested top Chabad leaders for laundering money from Kfar Chabad, Israel. Israel’s Channel 10 reported that one of the suspected money launderers using the Chabad operation was Arkadi Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli mafiosi figure who recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Jerusalem. Among those arrested was Yosef Aharanov, director of the Young Chabad Association, who the Jerusalem Post reported had been the head of the “Bibi is Good for the Jews” campaign that championed Chabad support for Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister in 1996.
On November 27, 2008, WMR reported: “Bangkok police have long suspected Chabad House as a center for the Israeli Mafia, which runs its Ecstasy and Ice trade from Bangkok for all of Southeast and East Asia. The Israeli Mafia also reportedly runs heroin labs in Myanmar, where an Israeli military officer serves in Myanmar’s feared military counter-intelligence agency.”
There are Chabad Houses located in Bogota and Barranquilla, Colombia; La Paz, Bolivia; Kinshasa, Congo; San Jose, Costa Rica; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Quito, Ecuador; Tbilisi, Georgia; Baku, Quba, and Sumqait, Azerbaijan; Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, China; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Luang Prabang, Laos; Cancun and Tijuana, Mexico; Thamel District of Kathmandu, Nepal; Cusco and Lima, Peru; Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui, Thailand; Caracas, Venezuela; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
In addition to Mumbai, Chabad Houses are also located in Bangalore, Goa, and Manali, India.