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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:
International Department
1930s-era Jewish gangster



Berlin Jewish Elections Stir Controversy Over Identity. Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, May 30, 1997
"Jewish community elections in Germany are rarely covered in the German media. But the upcoming election in Berlin on June 1 has catapulted the city's Jewish community into the national media spotlight. The stories center on real estate scandals, alleged financial mismanagement of community funds and embittered personal rivalries among community officials. The reports, which cast a shadow on the integrity of some leading members of Germany's largest Jewish community, come just two years before the German government is scheduled to move most of its offices from Bonn to Berlin. Jewish leaders worry that if the negative publicity continues, it could weaken community structures and damage the political influence of Berlin's Jewish community in the German capital."

Councillors Jailed for Vote-Rigging Scam That May Have Cost Labour Control of Hackney. The Independent [Great Britain], April 21, 2001
"Two councillors were jailed yesterday for a massive vote-rigging scandal that may have cost Labour control of a London authority. Police said the plot in the borough of Hackney by the Conservative Isaac Leibowitz and the Liberal Democrat Zev Lieberman was probably the largest attempt to 'subvert the democratic process' yet seen in Britain. Leibowitz, 36, was jailed for six months and Lieberman, 29, for four months after Judge Jeremy Connor said their 'enthusiasm for public office' led to fraud and a violation of the election process. They engineered a 2,000 per cent increase in proxy voting, registered Americans as local voters and tricked pensioners into handing over voting rights."

Paris Jews Worry About Image After Some Are Accused in Scandal,
JTA
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency), March 5, 2001
"A major scandal has hit the heart of Paris' heavily Jewish clothing district. The affair's ingredients include a pyramid scheme, $80 million, 12 of the 124 accused fleeing to Israel, charges of anti-Semitism and one of France's most popular films. The defendants, a majority of whom are Jews from Morocco and Tunisia who came to France in the 1960s immigration wave, are store owners accused of having swindled French banks for loans to buy non-existent goods. The affair blew open last month when a vast pyramid scheme, which some suggest has been going on for decades, came tumbling down after a series of bank loans were defaulted ... The scheme ended when police began searching for shop owners who had not paid their loans, prompting several of the accused to flee for other countries, including Switzerland and Israel. But the case took on a different tone as the French government accused Israel of knowingly harboring fugitives, despite having signed an international extradition pact. 'By intentionally pursing this policy, Israel removed itself from the family of nations,' said French prosecutor Francois Franchy."

Poland's Jewish Community Grappling with Scandal.
Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, April 30, 1999
"The Jewish community in Poland is being wracked by a scandal that has forced the country's umbrella Jewish organization to fire its treasurer and downgrade the status of the Jewish communities in Gdansk and Poznan. It involves what the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland termed 'very serious financial irregularities' committed by Gdansk Jewish community Chairman Jakub Szadaj, as well as a 'slanderous campaign' Szadaj has conducted in the mainstream media against the union's board and other Jewish organizations. 'It is an extremely unpleasant, depressing and destructive situation,' Stanislaw Krajewski, a member of the union's board, told JTA from Warsaw. 'The Polish press has begun to report that the Jews are quarreling over money' ... Jewish organizations tried to keep the affair quiet, but after Szadaj was removed from his position as the local JDC-sponsored social relief worker in Gdansk, he gave an interview to a Gdansk newspaper."

Prague Jewish Leaders May Sue Over Charges of Theft.
JTA
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency), August 2, 2001
"Jewish leaders here are considering legal action over a book published in the United States claiming that huge sums of money 'disappeared' from the Jewish community's coffers over a period of several years. The allegation — which appears in the 1999 book 'The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe: A Travel Guide and Resource Book to Prague, Warsaw, Crakow & Budapest' — was dismissed by the Prague Jewish community, which said its reputation was being damaged. The book's author, New York-based writer Eli Valley, worked in Prague's community for several years organizing cultural and religious events until 1997. In the book, he argued that Prague had become one of the wealthiest Jewish communities in Europe through money received from restituted properties and tourist revenues. He also wrote, 'The enormous amount of capital flowing into the Community has created unprecedented opportunities for corruption and mismanagement. It is an open secret in the Jewish Community that millions of Czech crowns disappear every year. The question remains as to how many individuals are involved in the disappearance.' One million Czech crowns is currently worth about $25,000 ... Valley, the son of a New York rabbi, expressed surprise that the community was contemplating legal action."

Montreal Assailed for Jewish Mob-Member Focus.
Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, June 6, 1997
"Canadian Jewish groups are demanding an apology from a French Montreal daily for a story they claim is anti-Semitic. The article focused on Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrests of Jewish members of a criminal organization, even though most of the group is not Jewish. The story in the newspaper La Presse ran Wednesday of last week under the headline, 'RCMP Strike a Deadly Blow to a Jewish Criminal Organization.' It described a criminal group led by Montrealers with Jewish-sounding last names. These men, Morris Mayers and Shimon Ben-David, were charged along with Mahmood Hassan and Thomas McKinnon, but La Presse focused on the Jewish identity of the organization. Only seven of the group's 31 members, also suspected of smuggling drugs, are said to be Jewish ... The league sent a letter to Claude Masson, La Presse's assistant publisher, demanding a published apology .... But Masson defended his paper's coverage. 'I think we're playing with words a bit,' he was quoted as saying. 'I think we should be careful about being so politically correct that we can no longer say what is happening in our society.' Masson did say he would reserve judgment until meeting with representatives of Jewish groups. But he pointed out that the leaders of the criminal group have been identified as Jewish by the RCMP, which stated that the main leaders have Jewish or Israeli connections."

What you Won't Read About Michael Harari, Noriega's Israeli Advisor Who Got Away.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, February
1990
"In the spring of 1988, when Colonel Herrara first broke with [Panama dictator Manuel] Noriega and took refuge in Miami, he said of Michael Harari: 'We call him 'Mr. 60 Percent' because he gets that much from any deal that he makes.' Harari took kickbacks from Israeli businessmen seeking to invest in Panama, and split the proceeds with Noriega. Just how profitable that was is indicated by a Panamanian Jewish leader quoted in the Washington Jewish Week of Dec. 28: 'The Israelis working here do not, by and large, reflect well either on Israel or the Panamanian Jewish community. They have practically gained control of the Central Avenue business district. They are engaged in contraband and money laundering. In general, they engage in very aggressive and often unfair business practices. They mainly keep apart from the Jewish community, and have little interest in Panama. They are here to make a lot of money and get out.' ... 'We are seen as disloyal by many,' complains Moises Mizrachi, a businessman who heads the Panamanian committee of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League ... Explaining his fears, Mizrachi told the Washington Jewish Week: 'It is certainly true that the Jewish community did prosper under the dictatorships (from 1969 to the present). The Christian businesses were largely displaced by Jewish businesses.'"

Royal Scammer Linked in Banker Fraud Case,
Middle East Times
, December 26, 1999
"A complex financial malpractice scandal unfolding in France and involving Moroccan and Jewish businessman is starting to involve actors uncomfortably close to the royal family of Morocco. The Moroccan palace said on December 18 that the royal family had no link with Fouad Filali, the former husband of a princess, who has been questioned as a witness to the suspected money laundering case in France."

Embargo Busting: Serb Economy Stays Afloat with the Help of Criminal Network. Wall St. Journal, [posted here at bosnet.com], June 7, 1994
"Yugoslavia's descent into widespread criminality began two years ago with a pair of textbook pyramid schemes. Jezdimir Vasiljevic, a man with Elvis sideburns who had earlier brought chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer out of seclusion, and Dafina Milanovic [Jewish?], a woman with a taste for wide-brimmed, floppy hats and gaudy gold jewelry, opened banks in Serbia promising to pay up to 15 percent monthly interest for foreign-currency deposits. Both were frequently seen hobnobbing with top Serbian politicians, and their banks' initial interest payments received sensational coverage in the government-controlled media. The money flowed in ... Apparently, it also flowed right back out. Though some was used to pay interest to depositors, most of it went to fuel the Serbian war effort and to finance companies outside Yugoslavia that helped flout sanctions. After a year of operation, both banks collapsed, having defrauded Serbs of at least $2 billion in foreign currency. Mr Vasiljevic, popularly known as 'Jezda the Boss,' fled to Israel and later gave an interview to independent Belgrade Studio B television in which he admitted to smuggling arms for the Yugoslav army."

Ukrainian Parliament Grants Immunity to Fugitive Former Premiere. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, February 13, 1997 [scroll down page]
"Legislators voted 253 to 19 to grant former acting Prime Minister Yufim Zvyahilsky immunity from arrest if he returns to Ukraine within two months, Reuters and Russian Public TV reported on 12 February. Zvyahilsky took refuge in Israel in 1994 after being accused of embezzling $25 million in public funds. Israel turned down Ukraine's request for his extradition two years ago. Zvyahilsky has repeatedly claimed that his political enemies made the embezzlement charges."

Jewish Bank Figure Detained in Moscow
.
JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), May 9, 1997 [scroll down JTA page]
"The head of a large Russian bank who is also a prominent member of the country's Jewish community has been detained in Moscow on suspicion of embezzling more than $120 million. Arkady Angelevich, who heads Moscow's Montazhspetsbank and is a member of the presidium of the Russian Jewish Congress, has been held in prison for two weeks. Under Russian law, Angelevich can be held for 30 days without being formally charged. During a search of Angelevich's apartment, officials with the Interior Ministry allegedly found incriminating documents, $55,000 in cash and $1 million worth of jewels. Angelevich was arrested on the way to the airport, where he was planning to leave for Israel, according to news reports."

The Sour Notes of Scandal. Warsaw Voice, May 5, 1996
"Prosecutor Krzysztof Wnuk has a bit of work to do. Head of the investigation into Poland's biggest financial scandal in half a century, Wnuk must sift through 200 volumes (70,000 pages) of documents. 'This is the hardest case I've ever been involved with," he says. "It's more than a single man can handle.' Three colleagues are also on the case, but the workload is still considerable. The case involves Andrzej Gasiorowski and Boguslaw Bagsik, owners of the Art-B company. Gasiorowski is still free, living in Israel, and Bagsik is in a Warsaw prison, accused of bilking the government out of trillions of (old) zlotys and then moving to Israel once the investigation against him was opened."

French Trial Reportedly Ordered for Soros.
Associated Press
[posted at freerepublic.com], December 23, 2000
"An investigating magistrate has ordered the American financier George Soros and three others to stand trial next year on charges that they took part in a 1988 insider-trading scheme involving shares of a French bank, Société Générale, which had been privatized the previous year, people close to the judiciary said today. Charges against seven other people were said to have been dropped. It was not immediately clear what specific charges the four defendants would face. French magistrates have been investigating the case for 12 years."

Ronson's Risk. The Independent [Great Britain], October 18, 2000
"Earlier this year [Jewish London real estate mogul Gerald Ronson] was voted "property personality of the year" by the readers of magazine Property Week, despite terrorising scores of hapless surveyors with his gruff temperament for the past 30 years ... The fruits of his labours came as standard-issue business tycoon toys: a luxury yacht, a private jet (with the call sign G-GAEL after his wife Gail, a former model), a fleet of expensive cars and a giant house. Then, suddenly, his life was turned on its head when he was implicated in the Guinness share-rigging scandal and jailed. On release, Mr Ronson faced near-bankruptcy but he staged a remarkable recovery, summoning a delegation of some of the world's richest men to bail him out. Today, Mr Ronson is back at the top of his game with plans to build a £300m skyscraper in the City of London and develop a network of 20 entertainment complexes across Europe."

Israel Refuses to Extradite Alleged War Criminal. Ukrainian News [posted by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association], December 2-15, 1998
"Israel, on Dec. 7, refused to extradite an accused war criminal to face trial in Poland, stating that the statute of limitations had run out on the case and Canada's Ukrainian community has reacted with fury. A Dec. 7 Associated Press story carried by several Canadian newspapers, among them The Toronto Star and The Calgary Herald reported that Israel's Justice Ministry had refused to extradite Solomon Morel, who commanded a camp for German prisoners in southern Poland, allegedly tortured inmates and was considered responsible for at least 1,538 deaths. Poland requested Morel's extradition in April on charges of beating and torturing prisoners and creating inhuman conditions at the Swietochlowice camp, which he commanded from February to November 1945, stated AP ... 'The Canadian government can denaturalize and deport people without even proving that these individuals committed any crime. But Israel has a statute of limitations for war crimes. Shame on Canada and shame on Israel,' wrote Mary Radewych of Etobicoke, whose father Vasyl Odynsky faces deportation even though the government has not brought any charges of war crimes against him, in a letter to The Toronto Star."

Kohl's Stricken Party to Expel Former Minister.
The Independent
[Great Britain], January 18, 2000
"The former German chancellor Helmut Kohl's interior minister was last night set to become the first victim of the widening party financing scandal, as Christian Democrat leaders called an emergency meeting and hinted that heads were about to roll. Manfred Kanther, who embodied the Kohl government's tough stance on law and order, is accused by his colleagues of having known about the illegal transfer of party funds to secret Swiss accounts ... Mr Kanther had claimed that the money from Switzerland and Liechtenstein had come from Jewish benefactors."

Israeli Banks Under Investigation in France,
Jerusalem Post,
December 30, 2001
"Three of Israel's five leading banks are under investigation by French authorities as part of a larger, ongoing probe of a money-laundering network between France and Israel. The network used Jewish charitable institutions and cultural institutions based in France to process illegally-acquired money. An executive from Bank Leumi France SA is among those under investigation, alongside workers from Israel Discount Bank and the First International Bank of Israel according to recent reports. In November French officials said there were some 80 suspects in the case including six rabbis. Six people are reportedly already in jail."

11 Convicted in Paris Fraud Believed Here,
Jerusalem Post, January 30, 2002
"Eleven of the 88 people who were found guilty, fined, and sentenced to up to seven years in jail at the end of the biggest fraud trial in France are believed to be in Israel. They are among 13 who were tried in absentia. Another 36 were acquitted. The defendants were convicted for defrauding banks and insurance companies of 82 million euros in a case centered on Paris's mainly Jewish garment district. The fraud involved using fake invoices to secure bank loans in 1996 and 1997. Wholesalers pretended to sell goods to a retailer in exchange for time bills. The bills were immediately discounted at a bank. The retailer then folded or vanished. This apparently simple scheme was complicated by its size and the involvement of several bankers in France and Israel. According to the court, accommodation bills and fraudulent checks were sent from France to several Israeli banks, among them the First International Bank of Israel ... Several lawyers criticized the heavy-handed attitude of the investigating judge, Isabelle PrZvost-Deprez. She has been accused by some of those prosecuted of being motivated by anti-Semitism. According to a conservative estimate, more than 75% of those found guilty are Jewish; some hold Israeli citizenship. Haim Weizman, the man prosecutors said organized the fraud, was sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison. He is believed to be living in Israel."

Dirty Tricks Row Engulfs Middle East Envoy, Guardian (UK), April 8, 2002

A Feud, and a Fire, Drive Wedge Between Rival Shuls
,
[Jewish] Forward, May 10, 2002
"When a Conservative synagogue in this western Canadian city was firebombed in early April, most observers blamed the desecration on tensions in the Middle East. The city's tiny Jewish community mourned the destruction of Congregation Agudas Israel's archives and religious texts, worth an estimated $60,000. But as the investigation into the attack enters its second month, the police have not ruled out as a possible motive the ongoing tensions among local Jews and a bitter rivalry between Agudas Israel and a breakaway congregation. In a community of only 200 Jews, there are currently four lawsuits under way involving at least two dozen of them. "We are aware that there is some discord in there, and we have to keep it in our minds in our investigation," said Sergeant Keith Atkinson, spokesman for the Saskatoon Police Service. "We're looking at all alternatives right now." At the center of the litigation is Brooklyn-born Rabbi Steven Kaplan, who was hired in 1998 by Agudas Israel, then the city's only synagogue. He was fired in March 2000 following allegations, detailed in court documents, that he lacked proper ordination, sexually harassed female congregants and committed adultery with one of them. Kaplan, 52, led a breakaway group of 50 dissidents, including some former officers of Agudas Israel, in forming a rival Conservative congregation called Shir Chadash. He is suing Agudas Israel for breach of his five-year contract, and is also suing for defamation over an article about him that was published in the Agudas Israel newsletter. Meanwhile, his new congregation claims that Agudas Israel violated rabbinic canon law by operating a non-kosher kitchen and by burying cremated remains and suicide victims in the Jewish cemetery. Shir Chadash is suing Agudas Israel for all of its assets, including the building, cemetery, Torah and other sacred texts — some of which were destroyed in the firebombing. Agudas Israel, in turn, is counter-suing Shir Chadash and specific members of its congregation for the damages it suffered through their defections. None of the allegations in the lawsuits has been proven in court."

Suicide of Jewish Official in Poland Accompanied by Fraud Accusations,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct. 7
"The recent suicide of a prominent Jewish community leader in Poland has drawn unwelcome publicity to alleged fraud in the restitution of prewar Jewish property. Feliks Lipman, an Auschwitz survivor who was chairman of the Jewish community in the southern city of Katowice and a vice chairman of the Union of Polish Jewish Religious Communities, shot himself in the head at the end of August ... An article late last month in the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita implicated Lipman in real estate fraud involving restituted buildings. The report described alleged shady dealings related to the restitution of prewar Jewish communal and private property ... According to media reports and Jewish sources, police are investigating several restitution cases in which Lipman was involved. One of these, according to Rzeczpospolita, is that of a certain Chana Goldfeld from Israel, who apparently gave power of attorney to a lawyer from Katowice in 1997 ... Despite the lack of cohesive legislation, many individuals have begun to obtain their former property or their ancestors’ property through existing legal mechanisms. The allegations about Lipman came in the wake of earlier accusations involving fraud connected with these private restitution requests ...'I’m afraid it will have an effect,” said Eve Anderson, CEO of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, which was set up to administer restituted communal property. 'I’m afraid it will affect the psyche of Polish officials.'”

Argentine Exposé Prompts Probe of Israel's Ex-Envoy,
[Jewish] Forward, October 11, 2002
"The Israeli Foreign Ministry has launched an internal investigation into the activities of its former ambassador to Argentina, Yitzhak Aviran. In the coming weeks, a ministry fact-finding mission will travel to Argentina to try to assess allegations made by the investigative television program 'Puntodoc' last month that Aviran was involved in shady business deals during his tenure between 1993 and 2000. The program, which was aired on national television, alleged that some $17 million of Argentine government money was granted for projects in which the Israeli embassy played an intermediary role. The documentary alleged that one intermediary close to Aviran, Oswaldo Schvartzer, was awarded most of those projects and that several of them were not completed, leading to suggestions that Schvartzer, and possibly Aviran, pocketed some of the money."

Jewish World: Tribal Tribulations.High-profile Peruvian Jews are caught up in a slew of high-profile corruption cases. And that’s not even including the rumors about the Jewish wife of the president,
Jerusalem Report, Decemer 2, 2002
"A man's house may be his castle, but for Alex Wolfenson, his home’s been his prison for the past five months ... Alex Wolfenson and his older brother, Moisés, are under house arrest, charged with stealing state money, and facing up to eight years in prison. They are not the only members of Peru’s small, yet powerful, Jewish colonia (community) of some 3,000 who have been accused of being involved in the web of corruption weaved by ex-president Alberto Fujimori and his right-hand man Vladimiro Montesinos, who is now himself imprisoned, awaiting trial on some 100 charges, ranging from bribery to human rights abuses. Former TV station owners Samuel and Mendel Winter are in prison awaiting trial, and Efrain Goldenberg, Peru’s ex-finance minister, is accused of various crimes, including mismanagement of some $140 million in state funds, particularly relating to the then-government’s spending on election ads. He fled to the United States when the scandal began to unfold and remains there to this day. Of course, in a country where almost every day brings a new scandal to light, Jews aren’t involved in all of them. Unless you count the president’s Jewish wife, Eliane Karp, no Jews were involved in President Alejandro Toledo’s paternity battle over the 14-year-old girl he now admits to fathering with another woman; nor, for example, were any involved in the party thrown by a government agency charged with feeding the poor ... If the Wolfenson, Winter and Goldenberg cases weren’t bad enough, further epic scandals have pushed what would ordinarily be communal matters into the national spotlight. The first involves the loss of some $50 million by Jewish individuals and communal organizations who had invested in the holding company of Banco Nuevo Mundo (BNM), a Jewish-run bank that the Peruvian government is trying to liquidate ... Sitting in a suite at his five-star hotel, Los Delfines, Jacques Levy, the 48-year-old former head of BNM, says his problems began when government institutions started to withdraw their deposits, draining BNM’s financial reserves. 'It was financial terrorism,' says Levy, although no one seems prepared to suggest what the government’s motive might have been. When, in December, 2000, the Peruvian banking authority intervened, BNM had a loan portfolio of $495 million and deposits of just $47 million. The directors contend that almost all the depositors in BNM have been given their money back. The problems, particularly with the Jewish community, arise from a Panama-based holding company whose main investment was BNM. The directors of BNM sold millions of dollars of promissory notes to Jews and Jewish groups in the holding company. When the superintendency closed the bank, the notes became worthless, turning millionaires into paupers overnight. Even a Jewish retirement home lost money. The charges leveled at Levy and his fellow directors by Peru’s Jewish community are: They duped investors to buy into the holding company, when they thought they were buying BNM; they invested the holding company’s money in businesses in which the directors had a beneficial interest; they continued to solicit deposits right up to the day before they knew the superintendency was going to intervene; they refused to repay the money they lost; and they brought shame upon the community in the eyes of non-Jewish Peruvians when the scandal hit the national press ... One director says he is so embittered that he’s delighted his son is going out with a non-Jewish girl ... The most recent involved a secretly taped conversation between Moisés Wolfenson and Salomón Lerner, former president of Peru’s sprawling development agency, Cofide, coordinator of the Peruvian branch of the Jewish Human Rights Association and close friend of President Toledo. According to Peru’s Conservative Rabbi Guillermo Bronstein, the tape has 'reopened old wounds.' Lerner is allegedly heard telling the Wolfensons to change the editorial line of their tabloid newspapers to being pro-Toledo or they’d find themselves in the same position as the imprisoned Winters. (Samuel Winter is Moisés’s father-in-law.) "You can’t fight power," Lerner is allegedly heard saying. Two versions exist as to why the meeting took place. The first has it that Isaac Galsky, Alex Wolfenson’s father-in-law and Peru’s richest Jew (estimated to be worth $200 million), had asked his business partner, Lerner, to arrange the meeting because he didn’t want to see his extended family in trouble. The other allegation is that Toledo asked his friend Lerner to put pressure on the Wolfensons, who had supported Fujimori since 1995. The Wolfensons accuse Lerner of trying to blackmail them. Lerner denies the charges, but has had to resign as president of Cofide, because of the scandal ... The other epic scandal which has brought the Jewish community into the limelight involves Montesinos, former president Fujimori’s spy chief and right-hand man from 1990 to 2000. At the beginning of his third term, the increasingly autocratic Fujimori was suspected of buying off opposition politicians and media. But there was no proof. Until on September 14, 2000, a video was broadcast on a Lima cable news station showing Montesinos handing over $15,000 in cash to an opposition congressman. This first 'vladivideo' was political dynamite. And by the time the dust settled, Fujimori’s government had fallen; the ex-president had fled to Japan; Montesinos had been extradited back to Peru from Venezuela; and people close to Fujimori and Montesinos -- including the Jewish ones -- were in trouble. One of these was Israeli arms dealer Zvi Sudit who, through his company Hightech Technology, has reportedly admitted paying millions of dollars in illicit commissions to Augustin Mantilla, a former interior minister. Sudit has been supplying arms to Peru since 1980. He was also close to Montesinos; according to one report, Montesinos entrusted Sudit with the $15 million payoff the spy chief received from Fujimori, before fleeing to Panama and on to Venezuela. Sudit, along with his Jewish partners, Israeli Ilan Weil, Peruvian Rony Lerner (no relation to Salomon) and Canadian/Peruvian James Stone (also a close friend of Montesinos), are helping prosecutors with their investigations. The star witness in the Montesinos case is Matilde Pinchi Pinchi, the former spy chief’s personal aide who is cooperating with the investigation in exchange for immunity. Among the many unfortunates she fingered are the Wolfensons who, she says, received $14,000 a week for over a year from the former spymaster in exchange for supporting Fujimori in their newspapers ... The allegation leveled at Samuel and Mendel Winter created even more of a storm, not only because they are in prison awaiting trial for stealing state funds, via the bribes they allegedly received, but because it involved a very public spat between them and Israeli-born media tycoon Baruch Ivcher. The Winters were arrested in February last year, just days after their mother died. They were accused of accepting $5 million from Montesinos to help them buy a majority stake in Frecuencia Latina, the TV channel owned by Ivcher. The Winters already owned 46 percent of the station and were, at one time, friends of Ivcher’s. In exchange, the Winters -- who are said to have visited Montesinos almost daily in the run-up to the 2000 elections -- allegedly signed a contract agreeing to run only Fujimori ads during the campaign ... . The government went on to accuse Ivcher of selling arms to Ecuador during Peru’s war with its northern neighbor. (He says there were plans to torture him and get him to admit his treason on camera.) He fled, knowing that if found guilty, he would have faced death by firing squad. Ivcher was stripped of his citizenship -- with the collusion of the Winters, who had hoped to gain control of the station ... Peru has already updated its internment laws to keep the Winters in prison for up to three years without trial. And there’s always the possibility further charges could be leveled against them, sending them back to jail when they’re released ... Inevitably, much of the Peruvian press has had a field day with these scandals, referring to 'the Jewish bank,' 'Jewish arms dealers.' Even Adam Pollack, 'First Friend' of the president, is identified as 'Jewish-born.'At least according to one report, he can’t return to Israel, where he lived for 27 years, because he faces embezzlement charges. On the other hand, now that he’s the country’s second vice president, the incorruptible David Waisman’s Jewishness is rarely mentioned. Nor that of Daniel Schydlowsky, current president of Cofide and widely touted as the next economy minister. Still, there’s always the first lady. Unproven allegation of financial impropriety have been leveled at Elaine Karp, who, despite all her work with Peru’s indigenous and poor, has an even lower approval rating than her husband. 'She’s made so many enemies,' says Rabbi Bronstein, 'that whatever government gets in next will probably investigate her." But at least by then, Peru’s other accused Jews will either be free, or quietly serving time."

HIH's Adler faces jail,
by Samantha Hughes and Bryan Frith, News (Australia), December 04, 2002
"Former high-flying company director Rodney Adler faces the possibility of up to 25 years in jail after becoming the first HIH director on criminal charges since the insurance giant collapsed 21 months ago. Until recently a habitue of corporate Australia's plush boardrooms, the 43-year-old former chief executive of FAI Insurance - which was taken over by HIH Insurance - has become a regular in Sydney courtrooms since the $5.3 billion HIH collapse in March 2001. He appeared yesterday for a brief hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court, in downtown Sydney, to face five charges over dealings in HIH shares when he was a director of the failed company. Lawyers for the Australian Securities & Investments Commission alleged Mr Adler engaged in three counts of stock market manipulation and two counts of making false or misleading statements. Each charge carries a maximum five-year jail term, or a $22,000 fine - or both. While maximum penalties are rarely imposed for such offences, legal sources suggested yesterday prosecutors would seek to have an example made of Mr Adler if he were convicted ... Mr Adler is already appealing a NSW Supreme Court finding in May that resulted in him being banned for 20 years from acting as a company director and ordered payment of almost $9 million in fines and compensation to HIH creditors. As with the new charges, the ban resulted from Mr Adler's dealings in mid-2000 with an HIH subsidiary, Pacific Eagles Equities Trust, which he then controlled."

Shirley Porter has found sanctuary in Israel, but the bloodhounds of Westminster City Council are closing in,
The Independent (UK), January 3, 2003, p.8
"At 72, Dame Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress and former Tory leader of Westminster City Council, certainly looks as if she's having the kind of retirement most pensioners can only dream of. Thirteen years after she was first accused in the so-called homes for votes affair, the woman who masterminded the biggest corruption scandal in British political history is seemingly facing nothing more strenuous than getting her forehand in shape. Just over a year ago, Dame Shirley was found guilty by the House of Lords of trying to 'gerrymander' local elections by selling flats intended for the homeless to Tory voters. She was ordered to pay £27m, the largest surcharge imposed in Britain, and the first steps were taken towards freezing her assets. In a scarcely noticed move last summer, the surcharge was increased to £36m to include interest and costs. Yet despite the combined efforts of the High Court, law lords, auditors, solicitors, debt-recovery experts and the occasional private investigator, Dame Shirley has not paid a penny of the fine to this day. In what could be the most decisive chapter yet in the saga, Westminster council is gearing up for another legal challenge. Within weeks, lawyers for the borough will see a fresh court order, which would require Dame Shirley to reveal for the first time the location of any assets transferred in the past. It would also freeze any remaining interest she had in them ... . The worldwide hunt for the Porter fortune, which was estimated at £69m by The Sunday Times Rich List last year, has not exactly been successful to date ... The Tesco heiress appears to have been most shrewdly advised on her finances at the height of the affair, in 1994 ... . At one stage she had owned 5.5 million shares in Tesco, the company founded by her father, Jack Cohen, which were worth more than £10m ... She and her husband, Sir Leslie Porter, the former chairman of Tesco, left England to live in Israel in the wealthy resort of Herzliya Pituach, half an hour's drive north of Tel Aviv. Dame Shirley plays tennis at the Arcadia Hotel courts, a couple of hundred yards down the coast from her home. Sir Leslie, who is now 82, keeps a yacht in the Herzliya marina. Their neighbours are rich Israelis and foreign diplomats. Most Israelis are unaware of their presence, but they are close to the family of the late President Chaim Herzog and have thrown lavish parties for birthdays ... Sir Leslie is the chancellor of Tel Aviv University and has paid for a facility called the UK Building of Life Sciences The Porter Super Centre for Environmental and Ecological Research. Only a few weeks ago, Dame Shirley opened a conference on Italian and Israeli links on the environment. The Porter Foundation has funded the Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics, the Shirley and Leslie Porter School of Cultural Studies, the Cohen-Porter Family Swimming Pool and the Porter Senior Citizen Centre in Old Jaffa [in Israel]. And yet when their British assets are pursued, the pickings are meagre."

French Court Convicts Billionaire Soros,
Earthlink (from Associated Press), December 20, 2002
"A French court on Friday convicted billionaire investor George Soros of insider trading and fined him $2.2 million. The fine by the court is the same amount the Hungarian-born magnate was accused of having made from buying stocks at French bank Societe Generale with insider knowledge 14 years ago. The fine was in line with the request by prosecutors. Soros, 72, the president of Soros Fund Management, denies having privileged information. He was not in court Friday. In court testimony in November, Soros said: 'I have been in business all my life, and I think I know what is insider trading and what isn't.' Societe Generale was privatized in 1987 ... Soros was reportedly the first American to earn $1 billion in a single year. Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930, he emigrated to the United States in 1956 and became a citizen five years later. He made his fortune managing investment funds. Forbes magazine ranked him this year as the 37th richest person in the world, with an estimated $6.9 billion fortune."

Is Garry Kasparov a Swindler?,
Pravda
(Russia), December 30, 2002
"An Israeli bank blames the chess player of losing a source of income and of a 1.6 million dollars damage As is known, chess is the art of sheer, pragmatic but still elegant calculation. That is why, any dealings with a chess player are dangerous to people’s reputation and purse. Especially with Chess World Champion since 1985, Garry Kasparov [father Jewish; born Garryck Weinstein]. Men of this kind can even surpass Santa Klaus with making Christmas presents. As it turned out, Garry Kasparov is an expert at making unpleasant surprises. On the eve of 2003, the First International Bank of Israel is blaming Russian chess player Garry Kasparov of the refusal to pay off a loan at the rate of 1.6 million dollars, the Bloomber[g] agency informs. The bank is deeply insulted with the insolence of the chess champion and has sent an appeal to the Delaware circuit court. Russian lawyers would have estimated the actions of the chess champion as a fraud with a high degree of cynicism."

Poland Examines Media Bribe Allegation,
WIBC (Indiana) (from Associated Press), January 7, 2002
"Prosecutors questioned a newspaper editor Monday about published allegations that a leading film producer sought a $17.5 million bribe to lobby the government for more media-friendly laws. The allegations against Lew Rywin were carried last month by the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. It reported he approached its chief editor with the offer last July, claiming he represented Prime Minister Leszek Miller. Rywin, 57, is one of Poland's most prominent media entrepreneurs. His company, Heritage Films, co-produced Steven Spielberg's 'Schindler's List,' which won a 1993 Academy Award for best film. 'The Pianist, [by fellow Jewish filmmaker Roman Polanski] which featured Rywin as an actor, won the Palme d'Or top prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Rywin has refused to comment on the bribery allegation ... Warsaw prosecutors began their investigation Monday by questioning Gazeta chief editor Adam Michnik [also Jewish], a communist-era dissident and leading critic of a proposed measure to change to media laws. Private media have protested the bill, saying it would strengthen the monopoly of state television with restrictions on private ownership of television and radio stations."


'Jews Are Fighting and the Whole Country Has To Watch' Jews in Power or Jewish Power? The Captains of Russia's Post-Communist Economy Invited Uneasy Questions,
[Jewish] Forward, September 13, 2002
[Review of: The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia, by David E. Hoffman],
"Sometime during the autumn of 1996, a small group of the most powerful men in Russia gathered in a villa on Moscow's Sparrow Hills district and worried aloud about antisemitism. They were Russia's famous 'oligarchs,' men who, in the aftermath of communism's fall, ran banks, oil companies, television stations and, increasingly, the country, and they had reason to worry: Most of them were Jews. 'In earlier years, when the moguls gathered to talk or make deals, when they dined in the villa on Sparrow Hills, or when they entered the Kremlin to warn Yeltsin, they were largely hidden from public view,' writes former Washington Post Moscow correspondent David E. Hoffman in his recent book, 'The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia.' But in the autumn of 1996, it was no longer possible to conceal their ambition and their presence in the highest councils of the state. They worried, among themselves, about a backlash. The threat of an antisemitic uprising never materialized. The oligarchs, and Jews in general, are frequent targets of the nationalist press, and extremist firebrands still occasionally call out their names in public, but the Russian street has yet to take up calls for their blood ... If the book has a flaw, however, it is in not answering one of the central questions it raises: Why is it, and what does it mean, that so many of these men - men who ruthlessly acquired and manipulated Russia's resources and, for a time, its government - are Jewish? Of the six main characters in the book, four are Jews: Boris Berezovsky, now exiled and wanted at home for corruption, who at one point owned everything from auto-makers and airlines to banks and a TV network and earned the moniker 'Godfather of the Kremlin'; Vladimir Gusinsky, banker turned media-magnate whose quarrels with President Vladimir Putin sent him into exile; Alexander Smolensky, perhaps Russia's most notorious banker, the collapse of whose bank in 1998 wiped out thousands of people's savings, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, leader of Russia's second-biggest oil company, who survived political scandals and the collapse of his own bank. The other two - Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and reformist-politician-turned-energy-czar Anatoly Chubais - are not Jewish, though that hasn't stopped nationalists from making accusations about Jewish heritage. (The book's index, meanwhile, contains at least another 25 prominent Russian Jews, including tycoons Roman Abramovich, Pyotr Aven and Mikhail Friedman and politicians Yegor Gaidar, Boris Nemtsov, Yury Skuratov and Bella Zlatkis.) They were, by and large, men who learned early how to manipulate the system. Gusinsky bought copper wire on the black market to make the bracelets that funded his first fortune. Berezovsky did a brisk shuttle trade in German cars and Italian computers. Khodorkovsky used connections in the Communist Youth League to finagle lucrative software contracts ... . But by 1996, some of the oligarchs were beginning to worry. Nationalist politicians on the left and right were decrying what they called the theft of Russia's industry and the 'oligarch Yids' who engineered it ... Between them, Berezovsky and Gusinsky controlled the country's two biggest television stations, the leading news radio station and several of the largest newspapers and magazines. The fact was that the media in Russia was controlled by Jews; antisemites didn't really care which Jews in particular. Even mainstream politicians such as former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin didn't really like the idea; when Berezovsky and Gusinsky were embroiled in one of their public quarrels, broadcast for all to see on their respective television stations, Chernomyrdin said, 'Two Jews are fighting and the whole country has to watch." For anyone familiar with Russian history, the road from scandal to pogrom would have seemed perilously short. Awareness of that history led the oligarchs in contradictory directions. On that fall evening in Sparrow Hills, the attendees - Berezovsky, Friedman, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky and Smolensky - collectively decided that masking their Jewish identities would be the best option. A non-Jewish oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, was chosen to be their public liaison to government. Berezovsky was soon seen wearing a cross and attending Russian Orthodox churches. Still, no matter how hard they tried to distance themselves from Judaism, until very recently a glance at their passports would have given them away [i.e., Israeli passports]. And yet less than a year earlier Friedman had joined Gusinsky and a handful of other prominent Jewish businessman in organizing the Russian Jewish Congress. Outwardly, the congress's aim was that of any Jewish group anywhere - to support synagogues, schools and other religious and cultural activities. But, according to Boris Usherenko, a Russian actor turned Jewish activist and journalist who documents his stint as the first executive secretary of the Russian Jewish Congress in his self-published book, 'My Jewish Fate,' fear of antisemitism also played a part. At one of the congress's early planning sessions in late 1995, Usherenko writes, the founders' purposes were bluntly, if awkwardly, put. 'Fiery speeches were made. [Chief Rabbi Adolf Shayevich] inspiringly contrasted the depressing past with the shining future. [Gusinsky] expressed his nostalgia for the old rusty pipe he used as a boy to beat antisemites. I remember [one attendee's] fierce defense of his ideal - Jews with machine guns.' It was not, however, the first time Jews were attacked for being at the vanguard of a tumultuous revolution. Before and after 1917, nationalists pointed to the heavy Jewish presence in the Bolshevik leadership, from Trotsky on down. Even today, Lenin's guttural 'r' - the key element of what Russians refer to as 'the Jewish accent' - is a running joke among Russian satirists; at least one of Lenin's grandparents was Jewish, which, as the satirists point out, would have made him eligible for aliya [immigration to Israel]."

[The head of the "Goldenberg" company below, according to other news reports, is a Hindu who converted to Christianity. The obvious question: Why is it called "Goldenberg?"].
Probe for Kenya's biggest scandal,
BBC, February 24, 2003
"President Mwai Kibaki has announced a probe into Kenya's biggest scandal, the 'Goldenberg affair'. The fraud, which began in 1991, is estimated to have cost hundreds of millions of dollars and implicated senior political figures. The BBC's Ishbel Matheson in Nairobi says that the Goldenberg scheme was simple, audacious and cost Kenya dearly. A company - Goldenberg International, run by businessman Kamlesh Pattni - is alleged to have received subsidy payments for exports of gold and diamonds, even though the country does not actually produce either commodity. So massive were the sums of money involved that some have even linked the decline of Kenya's economy to the start of the Goldenberg affair. Slow justice Attempts to bring those involved to justice have proved difficult. Cases have dragged on through the courts since 1994."

[The following excerpt is a translation of two Polish-language articles: a PAP (Polish news wire) note (from March 2) and a Rzeczpospolita article (from 3 March). The Rzeczpospolita article can be found here, entitled Sprzedawal pozydowskie kamienice. The original -- in Polish -- is also preserved here.]
"EX-LEADER OF JEWISH COMMUNITY ARRESTED IN KRAKOW,
Former vice-head of the Krakow Jewish community, Feliks T. (his last name was not disclosed), was arrested late Saturday in Krakow, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported early Sunday.The prosecutor has charged him with overseeing a fraudulent acquisition of Krakow apartment buildings that once belonged to Jews. According to daily Rzeczpospolita from March 3, the prosecutor's office has alleged that Feliks T. co-led a group that in 1997-99 used fake documents to arrogate apartment buildings and plots of land. Members of the group would locate property that belonged to Jews who perished in WWII, then, pretending to be the owners or their inheritors, take possession of and sell it to third parties. Three other members of the group had been arrested previously. One of them faked a signature on a document enabling him to take possession of an apartment building. The prosecutor's office has been investigating numerous cases of arrogation of formerly Jewish apartment buildings in Krakow. In order to make transactions, the fraudsters used fake power of attorney and persons with the same last names as the dead owners."

Russian Tycoon " in Fear of Life,"
BBC, April 2, 2003
"UK Russian tycoon 'in fear of life' Russian business tycoon Boris Berezovsky has appeared in court in London for the first time since being arrested on fraud charges. He was held in the UK after an extradition warrant was issued by authorities in Moscow, accusing him of carrying out a huge fraud via his Russian business empire. The court in London remanded him on bail until 13 May. He also had to surrender his passport. Mr Berezovsky, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, left court wearing a mask depicting Mr Putin's face. The tycoon claims he is the victim of a politically-motivated campaign ... A request for Mr Berezovsky to be granted political asylum in the UK was turned down last week, the court was told. Mr Berezovsky is accused of defrauding Russia's south-eastern Samara region in the 1990s while he was head of the Logovaz business empire. Mr Berezovsky sat in the dock beside another accused man, his business associate Yuli Dubov. The charges allege that the men defrauded the local government of the Samara region of 60 billion roubles ($1.9 billion) while they were directors of Logovaz from 1994-95. Mr Dubov's lawyer, Claire Montgomery, said he would be 'collateral damage' if both men were returned to Russia. Out of favour Mr Berezovsky was closely associated with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and was a member of his inner circle of Kremlin advisers. But his fortunes changed under Mr Putin's government ..."

Russian tycoon arrested in Britain on Russian fraud charges,
sfgate.com, (from Associated Press), March 25, 2003
"Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was arrested by British police Tuesday at the request of Russian authorities investigating him for alleged fraud. An extradition request charges Berezovsky with defrauding the administration of Russia's Samara region of the equivalent of about $13 million while he was director of a company called LogoVaz between Jan. 1, 1994, and Dec. 31, 1995. The Metropolitan Police said officers arrested Berezovsky in London early Monday. A LogoVaz associate, Yuli Dubov, also was arrested Monday, police said ... Berezovsky, an influential member of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin's circle, was emblematic of the politically connected group of so-called oligarchs who amassed huge wealth after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The former mathematician expanded a modest used-car business into a widespread network of holdings, including LogoVaz, the business newspaper Kommersant and the general-interest newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. At one time, he also held 49 percent of the shares in ORT television, the Russian television channel with the widest reach in the country."

Court petition: Investigate Leumi embezzlement. Customers of Bank Leumi Switzerland are petitioning the High Court of Justice, claiming the bank ignored warning signs,
by Dafna Zucker, Globes, April 11, 2003
"Two foreign corporate customers of Bank Leumi Switzerland today petitioned the High Court of Justice against Supervisor of Banks Yoav Lehman, Governor of the Bank of Israel David Klein, and Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu. The petitioners are asking the court to order the officials to investigate the circumstances of the huge embezzlement at Bank Leumi Switzerland. The petition was filed after former Supervisor of Banks Dr. Yitzhak Tal decided not to investigate Bank Leumi’s responsibility for the embezzlement in its Swiss branch. The petitioners filed a request for such an investigation in April 2002. Tal answered two months later that procedural considerations prevented him from exercising his authority in the matter. The petition, filed by Adv. Amir Almagor and Adv. Assaf Halkin of the Moritz-Weissglass-Almagor law firm, asserted, 'The respondents’ neglect enabled Bank Leumi to evade its elementary obligation to compensate customers for fraud. The failure to exercise the respondents’ legal authority is in effect preventing the auditing, supervisory, and enforcement agencies from fulfilling their function in the Israeli banking system' The petition continues, 'The State of Israel and the Israeli banking system cannot afford to have a huge embezzlement of money from Jewish customers of an Israeli bank branch in Switzerland, amounting to over $100 million, which continued for a decade, become a forgotten and neglected event. The international impact of such an embezzlement, particularly on the attitude of Diaspora Jews to Israeli bank branches, risks the stability of the Israeli banking system’s overseas activity, and through them, the stability of banks in Israel' ...The fund invests most of its assets in Israel. The embezzlement at Bank Leumi Switzerland, which came to light in January 2001, was the largest ever at an Israeli bank. The embezzled funds, estimated to be in excess of $100 million were totally written off by Bank Leumi after the crime was discovered."


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