TEL AVIV (Aug. 24)
Israeli Justice Minister David Libai has recommended that American businessman Eddie Antar be extradited to the United States, so that he can stand trial for the theft of some $53 million from investors.
On Monday, Libai instructed the State Attorney’s Office to petition the Jerusalem District Court to send Antar back to the United States, as American courts have requested.
Antar is a former electronics king known as “Crazy Eddie” because, he claimed in manic television and radio commercials, his prices were “insane.”
He is widely known throughout the Greater New York area for the commercials and for the many branches of the Crazy Eddie chain of electronics goods. He made millions, then declared bankruptcy about four years ago.
He then went to Wall Street and issued securities, allowing him to start up again.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission questioned the prospectus issued by Antar and his brothers, Mitchell and Allen, which reportedly inflated the value of the 43-store chain.
Antar allegedly stole over $50 million from the chain’s proceeds. The chain was liquidated in 1990, after it was learned that Antar had disappeared.
It is now known that Antar, an American-born Jew of Syrian origin, fled to Israel in March 1988. He became an Israeli citizen three months after his arrival and changed his name to Stewart Alexander.
U.S. authorities tracked his whereabouts through various means, including a source in Switzerland with access to related bank records.
He was found to have used several aliases, including that of David Cohen of Brazil.
In June, police secretly photographed the so-called David Cohen of Brazil and sent the pictures to New York, where the man in them was clearly identified as Antar.
Antar, 45, was uncovered by Israeli undercover police in Yavne, south of Tel Aviv, at the end of June in an undercover operation. Police said they discovered in Antar’s villa a briefcase containing $60,000 in various currencies and passports in various names.
He was remanded in custody by a Petach Tikvah magistrate, pending extradition hearings at the request of the U.S. Justice Department.
U.S. sources said the Antar brothers face an 18-count indictment for insider trading as well as securities and mail fraud.