The State Prosecutor's Office filed an indictment on Thursday against Ramat Gan Mayor Zvi Bar on charges of bribery.
The mayor is charged with allegedly accepting bribes for the sum of NIS 1.9 ($510,000) in order to back real-estate projects in his city. He is also charged with fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
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The State motioned that assets worth NIS 2.3 million ($620,000) be confiscated from Bar.
The police investigation against Bar has been going on since 2008, when the police investigated suspicions that Bar, 78, accepted bribes from contractors to promote their interests.
Ramat Gan Mayor Zvi Bar (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Bar dismissed the allegations against at the time and claimed that opposition elements were trying to sabotage his work.
"During my term hundreds of projects took place in Ramat Gan and in nearly every case the opposition attempted to tarnish my name out of spite," he said at the time.
"These elements managed to bring on several police investigations, but to no avail."
Nevertheless, police investigations continued and in 2011 the State notified Bar he will be charged with offences relating to the period between 2000 and 2006.
The State suspected that Bar, who has served as Ramat Gan's mayor since 1989, took bribes from five real-estate contractors in four different cases.
The Justice Ministry noted that the indictment follows a comprehensive police investigation, in the course of which dozens of witnesses were questioned and evidence was seized in Israel and abroad.
Bar's attorneys denied all charges against him, saying he has done nothing but promote Ramat Gan and its residents' welfare, for which he enjoyed the residents' trust and vote in the last five municipal elections.
Along with Bar three other businessmen are to stand trial: Shaul Lagziel, Haim Gayer and David Levy, on charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice.
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