Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar.
(photo credit: NETANYA MUNICIPALITY)
Police on Wednesday arrested Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar on suspected bribery charges involving multimillion-dollar real estate deals in her city Feirberg-Ikar, who has been mayor of the coastal city for almost two decades, was arrested in the corruption probe after being questioned under caution on Wednesday morning. She was later remanded for six days.
In addition, municipality official Rabbi Shimon Sar, two contractors and another unspecified suspect (who police say is an associate to a senior municipality official) were also arrested Wednesday and remanded for six days in connection to the corruption case.
At the Rishon Lezion court, Feirberg-Ikar contended that everything she did in office was according to the law.
One of four women mayors in Israel, Feirberg-Ikar has been a Likud pillar for many years and is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Police suspect Feirberg-Ikar of taking bribes from contractors in exchange for promoting their real estate projects in the coastal city north of Tel Aviv.
On Monday, four people were arrested in connection with the corruption investigation, including the mayor’s son, Tzafrir Feirberg, contractor Avraham Tshuva, attorney Avraham Gogig and architect Gabi Tetro. On Tuesday their remands were extended for up to nine days.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Lahav 433 special investigations unit acknowledged that it is investigating the officials for bribery, fraud, money laundering, tax offenses, and failure to report conflicts of interest.
“It is suspected that there were city officials and sources close to them that promoted the interests of builders and developers in Netanya for bribery and favors of various kinds, while municipality officials and their associates were working in conflict of interest without reporting it,” police said. Police froze the assets of the suspects and searched their homes and offices on Wednesday.
Nati Simchoni, an attorney representing Feirberg-Ikar, told Ynet that the mayor carried out her responsibilities in good faith: “She is confident that [this] it will become clear... Ms. Feirberg respects the law enforcement authorities and she will cooperate with the investigation authorities in order to bring out the truth.”
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.