Joint investigation with Interpol, Israeli Tax Authority's "Yahalom” unit and detectives from the Coastal District's special investigative unit, uncovered a network of Israeli middle-men living in Europe who police claim smuggled stolen luxury cars to Israel.
The cars allegedly include Mercedes E Class, BMW X5 and BMW M3.
A Haifa port employee, a customs broker and suspected European car thieves were among the 20 people detained early Tuesday.
According to press release the network allegedly imported stolen cars to Israel, under the premise of personal imports and sold them for as much as NIS500,000 (US$140,000) each.
The cars allegedly were imported using fake paperwork and registration taken from other vehicles. The cars were allegedly stolen in countries including Germany, Italy and Hungary, and were brought by land to Greece, where a group of Israelis changed the vehicles’ identities to those of other cars located in Europe. From there they were sent to Haifa port, where another group of suspects took them to sell in Israel.