Crime boss Asi Abutbul was indicted Tuesday for the murder nine years ago of attorney Yoram Hakham—who served as his lawyer at the time—and for the murder of another person named Arthur Rosen.
The investigation into the murder of attorney Hakham was stuck for many years, but a development in the case a few months ago led to the indictment of Abutbul, who is currently serving 17 years in prison for running a criminal organization.
After 100 days of interrogation, the Israel Police and the State Attorney’s Office announced last week they solved the murders Abutbul was suspected of committing.
The significant development came after the police employed an informant in Abutbul’s cell.
An inmate convicted of murder with a long prison sentence gained Abutbul’s trust, recorded him and collected incriminating evidence against him in both murders.
Attorney Hakham represented Abutbul in 2008 when he was charged of heading a criminal organization alongside other offenses.
On March 16 of that year, Abutbul thought his lawyer had given up on the cross-examination of a prosecution witness in his trial and fired the defense attorney in a phone call from prison.
The next day, however, the two apparently reconciled, and Hakham returned to represent Abutbul.
Despite their reconciliation, according to the indictment, the head of the crime organization decided to assassinate Hakham.
The indictment stated that Abutbul was “not satisfied with the accomplishments of attorney Hakham in the negotiations the latter conducted to end the case with a plea bargain.
In addition, the head of the crime organization was not satisfied with attorney Hakham’s management of his defense, partly because of the rapid pace of the trial.”
On June 10, 2008, an improvised explosive device (IED) was attached to the bottom of Hakham’s vehicle while it was parked outside his Tel Aviv office.
The next day, when the lawyer drove his car out of the parking lot, the explosive device was detonated, and the Hakham was killed in the resulting explosion.
The body of Arthur Rosen was found in 1999, lying on the side of Highway 2, near Or Akiva.
At first, investigators suspected he was involved in a car accident, but following his autopsy and analysis of evidence from the scene, suspicions arose that he had been murdered.
According to the charge against Abutbul, he and Rosen were in contact over a job.
Abutbul was at odds with Alon Giladi—a well-known criminal who was beaten and strangled to death in his home in Los Angeles in 1999—and at an unknown date approached Rosen and offered him a large sum of money to kill Giladi, but the two did not reach an agreement.
According to the indictment, Abutbul decided to murder Rosen over his refusal. He shot Rosen at the back of his neck after the two stopped at the side of the road in the middle of a drive.
Abutbul then shot him several more times and left.
Rosen, who managed to survive the shooting, got up and walked back to the road to call for help—but a passing vehicle ran him over and he died shortly thereafter.
According to the indictment, the reason for Rosen’s death was massive blood loss following the shooting.
Abutbul’s lawyer said in response to the allegations that “the police, backed by the State Attorney’s Office, used a prisoner to record my client.
We know this is against the law and the law is equal for everyone. We will seek to disqualify all these illegally collected evidence.
We hope to prove the defendant’s innocence.”