JERUSALEM, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Eti Alon, a woman who committed possibly the largest ever bank embezzlement in Israel, was released on Thursday after serving 14.5 years of her 17-year sentence, the Prison authorities said.
Between 1997 and 2002, Alon opened numerous fictitious bank accounts at her employer Trade Bank and used them to apply for loans, embezzling a total of 250 million shekels (65 million U.S. dollars) and leading to the bank's collapse.
She said the embezzled money was intended for her brother, Ofer Maximov, who was described as a compulsive gambler.
The early release was approved because she was a "model prisoner during all of her years in jail and was engaged in a meaningful rehabilitation process," according to a statement by the prison authorities' parole committee.
The committee also noted that her crime "might be the most serious economic offense ever committed in Israel."
Alon's niece, Noel Maximov, told the Hebrew Ynet news site that her family is "happy and looking forward to helping her assimilate in normative life."
She also criticized Israel's justice system for Alon's "unjust" long sentence, saying the authorities were too revengeful and unforgiving in Alon's case.