Four men accused of pocketing millions of dollars that patients had paid for organ transplants in Asia were arrested in Israel this week. The arrests followed months of investigation after the main suspect admitted to an Israeli newspaper that the organs were coming from Chinese death row inmates and prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners.
Yaron Izhak Yodukin, CEO of Medikt Ltd. and its Israeli counterpart, was arrested Tuesday for not reporting millions of dollars in income earned by mediating organ transplants for Israelis in China and the Philippines. In recent years, hundreds of Israelis are reported to have traveled to Asia for transplants.
According to Yediot Achronot, Israel's largest newspaper, the country's authorities began investigating Yodukin's activities after he said in an undercover interview nine months ago that the organs his company was helping to provide in China came from political prisoners, death row inmates and people arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
During the investigation, the authorities reportedly discovered that Yodukin's company had been turning in fraudulent receipts to a national healthcare provider and thereby avoiding tax payments on millions of dollars in earnings.
According to Yediot, the receipts reported costs of organ transplants that were much higher than in reality. By charging Israelis more than what was necessary, Yodukin and his colleagues then pocketed the difference, amounting to as much as six million dollars.
Suspected of aiding Yodukin in his tax fraud scheme are his assistant Peleg Matan, Medikt manager Ilan Perry, and a company lawyer whose name has yet to be made public. All three were also arrested this week.
Adding to the seriousness of the episode have been reports that senior administrators in one of the country's main healthcare providersóKupat Cholim Klalitówere somehow involved or aware of what Yodukin and his associates were doing. Yediot reported this week that some of them are also expected to be questioned.