TEL AVIV (Aug. 5)
Michael Albin, the 41-year-old financial wizard who plunged to his death Saturday from a third-floor window in the police headquarters in Jaffa when left alone briefly during a fraud squad interrogation, was buried here today at a quiet funeral.
Tourism Minister Avraham Sharir of the Likud’s Liberal Party, which Albin had supported, delivered a eulogy at the graveside.
Albin was the manager of the Israeli holdings and affairs of the international multi-millionaire entrepreneur Shaul Eisenberg until last year, when the two men quarrelled. Eisenberg allegedly charged Albin with the mismanagement of funds leading to heavy losses in such enterprises as the Ata textile complex, now in liquidation; the Israel Shipyards; and branches of the Israel Corporation.
ALBIN REGARDED AS’PAYMASTER’
Albin was also regarded as the “paymaster” of the Liberal Party of the Likud. He had close contacts with former Finance Minister Yoram Aridor. During Aridor’s tenure, Albin was said to have been the Eisenberg Group’s prime conduit to the Likud government.
He was arrested Friday, and questioned then and on Saturday morning. Albin’s interrogation reportedly followed police investigations and questioning of other business executives and financiers regarding fraud, stock manipulations, and financial misdealings.
A senior police source, quoted in Israeli newspapers, said Albin had been brought in for questioning following a complaint filed against him by Meir Rosenfeld, chairman of the Piryon Company. This is one of the concerns of the Eisenberg Group formerly run by Albin.
PROBE THREE MAIN AVENUES OF SUSPICION
Interrogators pursued three main avenues of suspicion in questioning Albin, according to police sources. They are: that he had committed administrative irregularities while directing Piryon and other Eisenberg holdings; that he had committed theft by fraud amounting to $2.1 million; and that he had published fraudulent financial declarations while raising money on the stock market.
Police said their probe, of which the investigation of Albin’s activities is a part, will continue into the doings of other associates, as well. Albin’s dealings at the Ata textile firm and the Israel Corporation may also come under investigation.
Police sources said that they had received a complaint from MK Ran Cohen of the Citizens Rights Party about Albin’s activities at Ata. The complaint and other material presented by Cohen, however, had been passed on to the Securities Authority and had nothing to do with Albin’s arrest.
The police probe is expected to touch on the dealings between the Eisenberg Group and the Industry Ministry at the time Gideon Patt of the Likud’s Liberal Party was Minister. During that time –which coincides with Albin’s tenure as manager of the Eisenberg Group — Ata received a government investment of $10 million to buy new equipment. It was never purchased.
Eisenberg is said to have accused Albin and another manager he replaced, Yohanan Zuchovitsky, of misapplying funds supposed to have been channelled to Ata. Zuchovitzky is an old school friend of Albin’s and a son-in-law of Eisenberg.
The investigation will also seek answers to questions regarding price manipulations on the stock market in the early 1980′s, when general shares doubled or tripled but Ata’s jumped 25-fold.
Since leaving the Eisenberg Group, Albin and Zuchovitsky have jointly invested in several enterprises, including Monitin monthly magazine and financial dailies and weeklies. Albin had reportedly been planning to move his interests and financial base to London. He returned from there last week, having left his family to settle into a new apartment in the British capital. He was arrested shortly after his return to Israel.
A senior police investigation has been scheduled into the circumstances under which Albin was left alone for a few minutes, contrary to standing police regulations, while his interrogators left the room for consultations.
His widow reportedly stated through an attorney that she was convinced Albin did not jump from the police station window of his own accord. His friends said, “Micky was a fighter. He would have fought any charges against him.”