Corruption News

Cryptocurrency fraud case against businessman Moshe Hogeg ‘very weak’ — TV


A major investigation into alleged cryptocurrency fraud may not result in charges against businessman Moshe Hogeg, Israeli television reported Sunday.

Hogeg, owner of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, was arrested last month, along with seven others, on suspicion of involvement in alleged massive fraud. He is also suspected of sex crimes, including trafficking and underage prostitution offenses.

Quoting what it described as sources close to the investigation, Channel 12 news said the fraud case was “very weak.” The sources added that they had a hard time believing that the suspicions would soon result in an indictment.

If Hogeg is ultimately indicted, the sources said the charge sheet could end up significantly smaller than the 21 suspected offenses — which include money laundering and theft — that he is being investigated over.

Concerning the suspected sex offenses, the sources said there was “strong evidence” against Hogeg, but that it would be difficult to charge him, as there is no complainant.

A separate source cited in the report said prosecutors may only end up indicting Hogeg for a couple of the suspected sex offenses.

“The financial crimes can wait,” the source said.

As well as trafficking and underage prostitution, Hogeg, the owner of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, is suspected of carrying out indecent acts, sexual harassment, operating a location for the purpose of prostitution, invasion of privacy and bringing an individual into prostitution. He is also suspected of supplying drugs and alcohol to underage girls.

Hogeg, who remains in police custody, has denied all the accusations against him.

Moshe Hogeg plays with a soccer ball at Beitar Jerusalem’s training ground, December 27, 2020. (AP Photo/ Ariel Schalit)

The network also quoted what it called senior sources as saying no decision had been made whether to seek an extension of Hogeg’s remand. The sources said investigators would meet with a prosecutor on Monday to discuss “where the case is going.”

Last week, a court extended Hogeg’s detention for a further seven days. If prosecutors do not announce an intention to charge him by December 14, he will be released to house arrest.

In order for him to be released from formal detention, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court ruled that he will need to deposit bail of NIS 10 million in cash (approximately $3.1 million), while guaranteeing another NIS 20 million (approximately $6.2 million).

In addition, his wife and sister-in-law will each have to guarantee another NIS 20 million, taking the total sum to NIS 70 million (approximately $22 million).

Read more: Alleged crypto scams, sex offenses, unpaid bills: The claims against Moshe Hogeg

Hogeg is a tech entrepreneur and cryptocurrency trader.

In 2018, he bought the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team. In September, he said he would sell the club, citing anti-Arab racist tendencies among its “ungrateful” fans.

In May, Hogeg was one of a group of businesspeople sued by former employees of an Israeli venture capital fund who claim that three of Israel’s largest initial blockchain coin offerings of 2017 and 2018 were outright scams.

Hogeg has denied the allegations and said the lawsuit is an attempt by disgruntled employees to extort him.

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