Dankner. Sure of his innocence
Photo: Yaron Brener
Efrati. Denies all
Photo: Yaron Brener

Holyland affair: Dankner released to house arrest

Former Bank Hapoalim chairman suspected of bribery, sure of his innocence. Former Israel Lands Administration head Efrati also released to house arrest

The Holyland affair continues to rumble, but meanwhile suspects are being sent home – to limited freedom. Rishon Lezion Magistrates' Court on Sunday released businessman and former Bank Hapoalim chairman Danny Dankner to house arrest for 10 days. "It's a big relief," Dankner said. "I am sure of my innocence."


Former head of Israel Lands Administration, Yaacov Efrati, was also sent home to 10 days' house arrest.


"I cannot talk about the investigation," Dankner said. "I cooperated with the investigators and I will continue to cooperate fully."


During the court proceedings, police representatives Chief Superintendent Yoram Neeman and Superintendent Tzahi Havkin presented the conditions for detention for the coming days. Dankner is required to surrender his passport to the police and refrain from contact with anyone involved in the investigation, including anyone from the Israel Lands Administration.


Att. Yossi Benkel, representing Dankner, said, "We are happy that the court accepted the agreement we came to with the police regarding Dankner's release. He cooperated with the investigators. As for all the things that have been published recently, these things were investigated in the past by the attorney general and received his approval."


Dankner is suspected of bribing former Israel Lands Administration head Efrati, in return for getting the construction freeze on his family's land removed. When asked if he thought that Dankner's five-day arrest was too much, Benkel replied, "Even 50 minutes would be too much."


Efrati still denies all

During Efrati's detention, police investigators repeatedly tried to ascertain whether he received any money, including from Dankner. However, Efrati denied the suspicions against him and claimed he had never received any bribes, and that all deals he made were clean.


His attorney stated that Efrati is sticking to his version, that he never received bribes of any kind, and that he is happy the police have come to the conclusion that there is no point in holding him anymore.


Earlier Sunday, former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Eliezer Simhayof was also released for 10 days. Simhayof is suspected of being involved in the Holyland affair. He is forbidden to leave the country for half a year, and must surrender his passport to the court.


The person described as being key to the case, Shula Zaken, is due to return to Israel on Monday. Zaken, former head of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office, is also expected to be questioned, and perhaps even arrested. In an interview with Ynet last week, Zaken said she did not try to escape, and would never leave Israel.


"I was born in this state and here I will also die," she said, adding she had planned a vacation abroad and then received the court's permission not to appear for the hearing about her case, and therefore extended her vacation.


פרסום ראשון: 04.25.10, 18:12
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