An elite Israeli soldier admitted yesterday that he took a job that paid US$5,000 a month with a syndicate that allegedly laundered more than HK$1.7 billion in Hong Kong in two years.
Doran Zvi Shulman, 26, pleaded guilty in the Court of First Instance to two charges - the first, that he handled 342 1kg gold bars and diamonds valued at HK$144.8 million for the syndicate; the second, that he laundered HK$2.68 million in his two personal accounts.
He was convicted and will be sentenced on Monday for the crimes, committed between January 2010 and April 2012.
Prosecutor Richard Turnbull said Shulman worked through the syndicate's seven companies to launder the money - buying gold bars, diamonds and two village houses in Hong Kong. He also used his personal bank accounts to transfer funds.
When Shulman was arrested on April 30, 2012, police searched his home and office and found the deeds of two village houses, as well as invoices for purchases of diamonds and documents showing transfers of funds.
The day after his arrest, the police saw two Israeli men, Yoav Hen and Omer Gavish, enter Shulman's flat and the village houses. They removed gold bars from his safes. The pair, with another Israeli man, Daniel Fadlon, then sold the gold bars.
The three were arrested in May that year. They all faced trial in the District Court last year and were jailed for terms ranging from four years and four months to 51/2 years.
"It seems to me Shulman's role is more significant than the other co-defendants," Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai said, adjourning sentence to Monday.
The court heard that Shulman admitted he had "turned a blind eye" to the source of the money and made the purchases and transfers under instructions.