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Israeli lawyer loses bid to block SOCA probe

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has received a major boost after a disgraced Israeli lawyer failed in a unique legal bid to block investigation of his multi-million pound assets in the UK.

Judges granted Soca power last week to ask Israel Igo Perry about £14m in two London bank accounts.

In October 2007, after a marathon six-year trial in Israel, Perry was given a 12-year jail term for aggravated fraud, embezzlement, obstruction of justice and violation of insurance laws. He was also fined £2.6m, although his jail sentence was later reduced to 10 years.

He had set up a scheme which gave Israelis the chance to receive pensions from West Germany by making a one-off payment instead of monthly contributions. About 30,000 Israelis signed up to it.

Now the Appeal Court has ruled that Soca can ask searching questions about the provenance of the money, much of which has already been "frozen" by the English courts.

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