6 former officials may face fraud, bribery charges

Economic Department of the State Attorney’s Office considering filing indictments against suspects, former senior government officials.

September 16, 2011 05:57
1 minute read.
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Suspect in court judge handcuffs arrest hearing 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

The Economic Department of the State Attorney’s Office is considering filing indictments, subject to a hearing, against six suspects who are alleged to on have committed offenses of fraud, bribery, deceit and breach of trust, the Justice Ministry announced on Thursday.

Among the six are former senior government officials, including former senior deputy accountant-general Itzik Cohen, Eitan Melamed, the former Health Ministry chief information officer, and Aharon Aharonov, a former official in the Finance Ministry.

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The State Attorney’s Office is also considering filing an indictment against businessman Raviv Raz, who is suspected of bribing government officials.

The announcement came after an investigation by the Lahav 433 National Fraud Unit that focused on suspicions that Cohen had maintained an improper relationship with Raz during his time at the Finance Ministry.

Cohen, who was also formerly the head of the government’s computerization project and had been dubbed the “computer czar,” was accused of misusing his senior government position to enrich himself and Raz.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, there is evidence to suspect that Cohen and Raz exploited Cohen’s senior Finance Ministry role and his government ministry influence to “create employment for both of them.”

The investigation, led by Supt. Anat Glotman of the Lahav 433 National Crime Unit’s National Fraud Unit, together with lawyers Gilad Sokolover and Yonatan Kramer of the State Attorney’s Office, uncovered suspicions that Raz, Cohen and Aharonov created a company that provided computing services for the Finance Ministry.

Cohen and Aharonov are suspected of concealing their roles in the company, and using their senior Finance Ministry roles to advance themselves in a fraudulent manner.

Raz is also alleged to have collaborated with Melamed.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, there is evidence to suspect that Melamed and Raz fixed the criteria of Health Ministry tenders so that Raz would win them.

The State Attorney’s Office is considering prosecuting Melamed and Aharonov on charges of fraud and breach of trust.

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