Israel Police have recommended that MK David Bitan (Likud) be indicted for accepting a bribe, money laundering, tax offenses, and other crimes. The Lahav 433 Fraud Squad today announced the completion of its investigation of the affair referred to as Case 1803 involving suspicions that Bitan, Arnon Giladi, and Doz Zur received favors from private parties in 2011-2017 in exchange for promoting those parties' interests. The private parties include Danya Cebus and its CEO, Ronen Ginsburg, a food market chain, real estate developers, contractors, and others. The investigation findings were given to the State Attorney's Office, taxation and economics, for consideration of an indictment of the suspects.
The police said that the investigation shows that while serving in his various public positions, Bitan received cash bribes amounting to hundreds of thousands of shekels, plus the promise of an apartment in exchange for actions relating to his position. In exchange, Bitan utilized his authority, influence, power, and connections with various parties to change decisions, provide permits of various types, and reduce payments to the munipality.
It is also alleged that Bitan brought about a change in a legal opinion by a professional party in the Tel Aviv municipality, expedited procedures for payment of debts, etc. As part of his activity, Bitan initiated meetings at the Knesset and the municipalities, contacted decision-makers, and devoted great efforts to this matter. His motive was allegedly to promote the affairs of the business parties in whose service he acted, and from whom he received benefits.
Bitan's lawyer: My client believes he is innocent
Bitan's lawyer, Adv. Dror Matatyahu, head of the white-collar department in the Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co. law firm, said, "I want to remind the public of some basic concepts: the police are the investigative authority, not the prosecuting authority. Its conclusions and recommendations therefore have no legal status. The Attorney General, who has the authority to decide to indict my client, subject to a hearing, has not addressed the matter, and certainly has not made a decision. My client believes that he is innocent, and that after the Attorney General hears his solid arguments, his decision will be completely different."
Following the police statement about the accusations against Bitan, the Blue and White party said, "Bribery again, fraud again, breach of trust again. Another of Netanyahu's closest associates will have to confront extremely severe police recommendations. Almost all of Netanyahu's beehive is suspected, investigated, and accused. The spirit of this leadership is corruption. It is time for different leadership for which Israel comes first. It is time for a change, and we will bring it."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 7, 2019
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