Kiryat Malachi Mayor Moti Malka denied repeatedly raping and sexually abusing a female employee of his municipality, saying Thursday that their relationship was consensual.

Speaking to reporters at the Central District Court in Petah Tikva, where he arrived to appeal his eight-day remand, the embattled mayor said he was unaware of who was behind the complaint against him, but expressed confidence that “the truth will come to light” and his innocence will be established.

Malka, his son, and five municipality officials were arrested by police on Wednesday following a lengthy undercover investigation into rape and widespread bribery.

Speaking at the court hearing, Malka’s attorney, Avi Himi, protested what he described as the demonization of his client, saying the media had turned him into a dangerous man whose fate had been sealed without trial.

The court rejected Malka’s appeal, sending him back to custody for a further week to allow police to continue their investigation.

Malka is suspected of repeatedly raping, sodomizing and sexually abusing the employee and allegedly carrying out the acts in an apartment made available to him by a contractor as a bribe.

Police suspect that Malka’s deputy, Yossi Sulimani, was also involved in an incident of rape.

Police suspect that on one occasion, Malka called his deputy to the scene, and the two raped the woman one after the other.

According to police suspicions, Malka also took a “sexual bribe” from a single mother in exchange for lowering her municipal land tax (arnona), which took place in the apartment.

Malka has denied the suspicions, saying sexual relations took place with consent, and that he ended the relationship.

Police would not officially comment on reports that Malka would soon be confronted with the female employee in the questioning room.

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