Danya Cebus Ltd., a construction and infrastructure company, and Hatzi Hinam supermarket chain are the companies that police suspect of giving MK David Bitan financial bribes amounting to hundreds of thousands of shekels, according to fresh information obtained by Ynet in the ongoing bribery investigation, also known as Case 1803, against the former coalition chairman.
Businessman Moshe Yosef, who has been dubbed former coalition chairman Bitan’s "banker," provided testimony on Tuesday afternoon in a ten-hour grilling at the police's Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit in Lod, where he answered all questions and is believed to have divulged dirt about the two companies that funnelled the money which was laundered through a furniture store he owned. Yosef is also believed to have issued the companies with fictitious invoices.
Following the publication of the company names, Danya Cebus Ltd. issued a statement saying: “It is unaware of any investigations regarding its business” and that “if and when it is asked it will give any information it has.”
Information obtained by the police indicates that one of the companies transferred a sum of NIS 300,000 to Yosef’s store which was then used as a conduit to pass on to Bitan’s bank account.
Police also believe that the money was intended to promote a construction project of the company in Rishon LeZion.
At the end of last month, Yosef was expected to admit to acting as a middle man in numerous bribe cases on behalf of Bitan as part of a plea bargain which would mitigate the sentence he is expected to have handed down and see him sentenced to a year-and-a-half in prison and fined.
In addition, police believe that Moshe Yosef has information about other bribery deals, which were not carried out in his offices in front of cameras.
According to the police, the Rishon LeZion affair investigation has been underway for a year-and-a-half. Bitan has already been questioned repeatedly on suspicion of bribery. During his last investigation he remained silent on every question asked of him.
Bitan was scheduled to be placed under the microscope again on Tuesday, but the investigation was postponed due to the vote on the supermarket bill. The decision was made however, prior to the announcement that the vote itself was delayed.
Rishon LeZion Mayor Dov Zur was also among the 17 people detained for questioning at the beginning of December in the corruption scandal. Bitan served in the past as Zur's deputy.
The police claim that Zur exploited his position as mayor to promote the interests of others in return for favors.
Among other things, Zur, police say, worked behind the scenes to fix a tender for the Lago Events Hall in western Rishon LeZion for an entrepreneur who is a close associate of his, allowing him to win it at a low cost even though he was forced to recuse himself from the tender meeting for a conflict of interest.