TEL AVIV (Jul. 6)
Meir Lansky, who has been described as the kingpin of American gambling rackets, filed a $350,000 libel suit against the newspaper Yediot Achronot yesterday charging defamation of character. Lansky’s lawyer, Yoram Alroi, claimed that a series of articles by three of the paper’s correspondents presented such a negative image of his client that many people refuse to associate with Lansky. The lawyer also contended that the articles were bound to influence Israeli authorities now considering Lansky’s application for Israeli citizenship. Lansky, who describes himself as a retired businessman, has been living in Israel for over a year on a tourist visa which expires at the end of this month.
His U.S. passport has been revoked and he is seeking permission to remain in Israel under the Law of Return which grants any Jew citizenship unless the Minister of Interior decides otherwise. If citizenship is dented and his visa is not renewed, Lansky may face deportation to the U.S. where he faces charges on alleged gambling violations. Lansky claims it was untrue to describe him as “one of the leaders of organized crime” in America. He denies any connection with the Mafia.