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