The Jerusalem Municipality submitted a lawsuit to the capital’s District Court Monday demanding NIS 129 million in damages against Holyland Tour, the developer behind the Holy Land housing development, for allegedly scamming the city out of millions in owed taxes.
The claim, which also names several other companies related to the real estate project, contends that the entrepreneurs behind the venture acted fraudulently by concealing the developments true value, resulting in tens of millions of shekels saved in betterment levy taxes.
The municipality issued a statement Monday noting the grounds for the lawsuit.
“The Jerusalem Municipality fights any attempt to defraud the municipality and the residents of the city,” it stated. “As soon as we discovered the betterment levy scam to steal money from the public purse, we acted immediately to ensure that the funds will be returned to the residents of the city.”
According to the Planning and Building Law, land owners and the municipality must reach a consensus on the assessment of a property’s value. By misleading the municipality, the suit contends, the Holyland developers saved over NIS 100m. in taxes.
As a result, attorneys representing the firm Epstein & Knoller are demanding NIS 129m., representing the difference owed the municipality, plus interest.
“We believe that the court will treat this claim’s severity seriously to ensure that entrepreneurs do not steal money from the public purse,” the statement added.
The lawsuit relates to the same project that has ensnared former prime minister Ehud Olmert on bribery charges, although the two cases are unrelated.
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