The Shmooze

Israeli Gangster Gunned Down at Gas Station

By Michael Kaminer

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The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the old saying goes. But it meant tragic consequences for an Israeli gangster. Crime boss Francois Abutbul, whose casino-owner father was murdered in 2002, was himself gunned down Sunday at a central Israeli gas station, Haaretz reports.

Abutbul, known as “Francois the Great,” was released from prison last December after serving about half of a 22-month sentence for domestic violence, JTA reports. The “scion of an Israeli crime family” was shot by two men who approached his car on a motorcycle and then sped away.

The shooting was the latest in a string of violent incidents involving Abutbul, his family and rival gangs, police said. Abutbul, whose age was not given in any of the many articles about him, has been in and out of Israeli courthouses, jails and media headlines for years, according to JTA.

Abutbul was the son of Felix Abutbul, who was murdered in 2002 outside a casino he owned in Prague, JTA reported. His brother, Asi, is serving a 13-year prison sentence for running a criminal organization, extortion and money laundering. His cousin, also named Francois Abutbul, was convicted in 2009 of a murder outside a Netanya night club. And his uncle, Charlie Abutbul, was himself the subject of assassination attempts in 2008 and 2010. Francois Abutbul was the owner of several restaurants in Netanya.

The country’s four main crime families — Abutbul, Abergil, Alperon and Rosenstein — “have been vying for control over the drug trade, extortion rackets and general dominion over Tel Aviv” for a decade, the newspaper Israel Hayom said, even as three of the four families’ patriarchs are in prison. “A newer and significantly more violent generation is rising to power,” according to JTA.


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