Channels

Photo: Avi Hai
Arnon Giladi
Photo: Avi Hai
Rishon LeZion corruption affair: Tel Aviv deputy mayor remanded
Following testimony of real estate entrepreneur involved in the affair, police arrest, remand Tel Aviv deputy mayor in the Rishon LeZion corruption scandal, inching closer to sufficient evidence needed to indict several contractors and government officials—among them former Coalition Chair Bitan.

Arnon Giladi, Tel Aviv's deputy mayor, was remanded Sunday after he was detained for questioning for the second time as part of the investigation into a corruption scandal at the Rishon LeZion municipality, in which former Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) is embroiled.

 

 

Giladi was detained for questioning at the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit along with three other suspects involved in the affair. The other suspects are two contractors and a lobbyist.

 

Police says the suspects were allegedly involved in offenses relating to bribery, money laundering, the VAT law and the income tax law.

 

former Coalition Chair Bitan (L) and Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Giladi (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
former Coalition Chair Bitan (L) and Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Giladi (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

Giladi's remand has been extended by five days. One of the contractors, Beni Sulimani, was released to a 10-day house arrest.

 

Giladi's detainment followed testimony given to Lahav investigators by real estate entrepreneur Dror Glazer, who is suspected of providing Bitan with NIS 250,000 in bribes.

 

Until now, the police's investigation focused mainly on projects that David Bitan handled in area of Rishon LeZion. However, following detailed testimony given by Glazer, it became clear that Bitan's influence had reached the city of Tel Aviv and its municipality.

 

It is suspected that biased promotion of projects and tenders there was carried out under Giladi's auspices.

 

Giladi, at court, February 4, 2018 (Photo: Avi Hai)
Giladi, at court, February 4, 2018 (Photo: Avi Hai)

 

The details of the investigation indicate that Bitan asked Giladi to help Glazer advance a residential project for students in Tel Aviv, for which Glazer was supposed to pocket about NIS 1 million when he received a building permit.

 

It is suspected that Giladi also promoted two more projects headed by Glazer, and that in two separate instances he did so to help the entrepreneur increase the number of housing units in the planned buildings.

 

Although Glazer could have taken a legal route in all aforementioned cases, he testified the he instead relied on Bitan and his connection to the Tel Aviv municipality to promote his projects faster and more efficiently, cutting through all manner of red tape.

 

Glazer told the investigators how every few months he would transfer tens of thousands of shekels to Moshe Yosef, Bitan's so-called "banker," and would receive a receipt for his payment as if he purchased furniture from Yesef's shop.

 

On the right: Moshe Yosef, outside Lahav 433 offices (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
On the right: Moshe Yosef, outside Lahav 433 offices (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

Yosef, meanwhile, was summoned Sunday to Lahav 433 offices and confronted two of the suspects who were arrested earlier that day.

 

He slammed Sulimani, accusing him of funneling funds through his furniture shop.

 

"You gave me tens of thousands of shekels to transfer to David Bitan," he said to Sulimani.

 

Yosef then accused the contractor who was detained of bribing him and Bitan with apartments should we agree to help increasing the number of housing units in a residential building in Rishon LeZion.

 

The deal mentioned by Yosef never materialized, as the aforementioned project was ultimately scrapped.

 

Yosef has provided detailed testimony to police investigators regarding his alleged involvement in the corruption affair for the past several weeks.

 

Real estate entrepreneur Dror Glazer (Photo: Shaul Golan)
Real estate entrepreneur Dror Glazer (Photo: Shaul Golan)

 

Police have been leaning on both Yosef and Glazer to turn state witness in the investigation

 

Bitan presented himself last week for his sixth interrogation at the offices of Lahav 433, but as in his previous interrogations he continued to remain silent and left the investigation in less than two hours.

 


First published: 02.04.18, 22:56
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Rishon LeZion corruption affair: Tel Aviv deputy mayor remanded"
Warning:
This will delete your current comment