Police arrest new suspect in Bitan corruption case

Ronen Ginzburg, the CEO of a construction company, is suspected of bribery.

By
January 3, 2018 17:15
2 minute read.
IDF soldier

IDF soldier handcuffs a man. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Danya Cebus CEO Ronen Ginzburg was arrested and questioned on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in corruption in Rishon Lezion, which has been dubbed Case 1803.

Ginzburg told interrogators at the Lahav 433 national crime unit headquarters in Lod 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.

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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 another major suspect in the case, Moshe Yosef, who received the nickname “The Treasurer,” and is considered one Bitan’s closest associates.

On Tuesday, Yosef was summoned to testify in the investigation. Police suspect that Yosef acted as an intermediary for bribe money coming from various people that went to Bitan.

Yosef has been under house arrest for several weeks and is negotiating with police over a state’s witness deal.

Bitan is expected to be questioned – for the fifth time – on Thursday. Police plan to confront him with Yosef’s testimony.

In the most recent round of questioning, Bitan exercised his right to remain silent, it is thought because he did not want to incriminate himself before a deal with Yosef is completed. It is assumed that if Bitan remain silent during Thursday’s interrogation, police will stage a confrontation between him and Yosef.

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.

Bitan has been a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as coalition chairman, a post he resigned from in December, after serving in it for 19 months.


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