The Member of the Israeli Knesset (MK), Oren Hazan, was exposed through an investigation of the Israeli public television Channel 2 in ordering prostitutes and using heavy drugs in his capacity of manager of the “Gold” casino in Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach resort. The investigation stirred a scandal and Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein ordered Hazan be suspended from his Deputy Speaker duties.
The scandal threatens the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as it has a very slim majority in the Knesset- 61 vs 60 votes. If Oren Hazan is to be investigated and forced to leave the Parliament as the opposition urges, it is possible to censure the government. Meanwhile, the opposition party “Meretz” also called for an international investigation of Hazan through Interpol.
Oren Hazan firmly rejected accusations of ordering prostitutes and drugs and threatened to sue the media that reported the story. According to Israeli radio, people related to Hazan have threatened the Knesset Speaker MK Edelstein with finding and publicizing scandalous information about him.
Hazan has not managed a casino, but a hotel of VIS 2?
Hazan claims that he never managed the casino, but a hotel “where there was also a casino,” and that he had nothing to do with the manager of the casino itself.
An inquiry of Bivol established that casino “Gold” is located in hotel “Polyusi”. The hotel and the land under it belonged to the company “Polyusi” LTD. Since 2014, “Polyusi” is owned by “Moren Limited”, an offshore company registered in the Seychelles, whose officially declared sole owner is Russian citizen Anwar Munla. “Morin Limited” bought the company in August 2014 from Valeri Krastev, who purportedly managed the properties of alleged Bulgarian mafia group VIS 2 (VAI HOLDING) in the resort.
Currently, the Board of Directors of “Polyusi” includes Valeri Krastev, along with the famous in the past boss of the other major Bulgarian crime group in the 1990’ – SIC (INTERGROUP)- Slavyan Teofilov, partner of scandalous former lawmaker and businessman Emil Dimitrov and of Nikolay Kashinov, who is also associated with companies owned by Emil Dimitrov.
According to a classified diplomatic cable by the American Ambassador in Sofia James Pardew, found on Wikileaks, VIS 2 was “the largest player in the drugs market” and his criminal activities include “extortion and racketeering, illegal arms trading, gambling, prostitution, and smuggling“. SIC criminal activities included ” narcotics… car thefts and trafficking in stolen automobiles, smuggling, extortion and racketeering, and prostitution.”
There are no available records that Oren Hazan has been once on the Board of “Polyusi”, but the contracts of managers and directors are not public.
Hazan’s company and the owner of “Gold” casino share the same address
Although Hazan denies any connection with the casino, such connection nevertheless exists, a check Bivol established.
Oren Hazan and Joseph Hazan have registered in Bulgaria a trade representation of the company “Ahi Im Yozma” with a designated street address 22 “Zlaten Rog” (Golden Horn), floor 10, suite 26. According to the Israeli Registry of Companies, Hazan is the single shareholder and director of “Ahi Im Yozma”.
The company that manages the casino – “Inmobles” LTD – is registered in the same office (evidence here). In 2013, the owner of the company was Sofia lawyer Iviyan Simeonov Hristov. The law office of “Simeonov & Partners” is also at 22 “Zlaten Rog”, floor 10, suite 26. Bivol contacted the law office, but attorney Simeonov was not available for comment.
Curiously, the company “Sunny Beach Entertainment,” whose activities involve “the organization of gambling in a casino”, but which does not yet have a license from the Gambling Commission, is registered in the same office. It is managed by the famous Bulgarian-Israeli businessman Jacob Djerassi, one of the few who in 2013 publicly declared their support for controversial Bulgarian lawmaker and alleged media tycoon Delyan Peevski. Last year Djerassi was the victim of a mysterious attack in Bulgaria’s second largest city of Plovdiv, in which he was sprayed and stabbed twice in the hand by four assailants.
Facebook keeps the trail
The Facebook page of “Gold” casino still contains photos of associates of Oren Hazan, who have tagged him there in July and September 2013. Bivol documented several of them, in case they are deleted (see here and here).
Bulgaria did not want Hazan as Chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Committee
According to Israeli media, as early as March, soon after the swearing-in of the Knesset, a high-ranking Bulgarian official contacted Israeli officials and asked that Hazan not be involved in any relations between the two countries and not head the inter-parliamentary friendship committee between Israel and Bulgaria. This move can mean that the Bulgarian secret services have been aware of his biography. Bivol will continue to follow the case.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian