(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former coalition chairman David Bitan remained silent in his police questioning on Thursday, the fifth round in the Rishon Lezion corruption probe, which has been dubbed as Case 1803
BItan presented a note to his interrogators, reading: “Because you are pressuring people to deliver false testimonies, I use my right to remain silent.”
The questioning at the Lahav 433 national crime unit headquarters in Lod took less than two hours. Media reports say that the questing focused on the testimony that was delivered earlier this week by Moshe Yosef, who was nicknamed “Bitan’s treasurer,” and is considered one Bitan’s closest associates.
BItan was presented with recordings of him which could potentially incriminate him. He also delivered a list of the gifts that were given in he daughter’s wedding this summer, in which police suspect that Bitan received bribes.
Bitan is suspected of accepting bribe money, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust.
Police suspect that he used his power as deputy mayor to benefit various businessmen, real-estate contractors, and organized crime groups, in exchange for money.
He is also suspected of having laundered money he received and presenting the bribes as consultancy fees.
On Wednesday, Danya Cebus CEO Ronen Ginzburg was arrested and questioned over his alleged involvement in Case 1803.
Ginzburg told interrogators that he gave former coalition chairman MK David Bitan large sums of money, but said they were not bribes. Nevertheless, he is suspected of bribery, and the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court extended his remand by five days.
It was previously reported that the company allegedly bribed Bitan, while he was serving as Rishon Lezion deputy mayor, in order to advance its interests in a construction project. It was claimed that it gave Bitan some NIS 300,000.
Police are also looking into the possibility that the Hatzi Hinam supermarket company bribed Bitan. The company gave hundreds of millions of shekels to Bitan in return for a reduction in municipal property tax (arnona), Channel 10 News reported.
Also on Wednesday, Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur and his deputy Yossi Hamami were questioned at Lahav 433 headquarters in Lod. Tzur is suspected of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Real-estate entrepreneur Dror Glazer is on the verge of signing a state’s witness deal, Channel 2 News reported.
Glazer reportedly told interrogators that he bribed Bitan through Moshe Yosef.