Lupolianski family unaware of alleged mayoral bid

Former haredi mayor still under investigation for corruption charges in Holyland trial.

August 19, 2013 22:34
1 minute read.
Ehud Olmert (right) and Uri Lupolianski.

Ehud Olmert (right) and Uri Lupolianski. 521. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Contrary to local media reports that former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski – presently embroiled in a corruption trial – is declaring his candidacy for the capital’s mayoral election, Lupolianski’s son said Monday he knew of no such development.

According to Israel HaYom, the haredi Lupolianski said he planned to announce his bid for office after Rosh Hashana, which would considerably shake up what is presently a two-man race between Mayor Nir Barkat and challenger Moshe Lion – both of whom are actively seeking the ultra- Orthodox vote.

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However, while Lupolianski could not be reached for comment, his son, Kobi, said Monday afternoon that he was unaware of his father’s purported interest in joining the race.

“I don’t know – it’s not me, it’s my father,” Kobi said by telephone when asked if the report was accurate. “He’s not in Jerusalem now.”

“You can call him when he gets back next week,” he added.

Lupolianski served as the city’s first haredi mayor from 2003 to 2008, following his tenure as deputy mayor under Ehud Olmert. He was subsequently lauded by the public for presenting accessible and friendly representation, despite initial fears that he would cater exclusively to the haredi community.

In 2012 Lupolianski was accused of accepting millions of shekels in bribes in a corruption case known as the Holyland trial, named after Jerusalem’s Holyland residential construction project.

Allegations of corruption were also leveled against Olmert and former Bank Hapoalim CEO Dan Dankner.

Lupolianski was indicted in July 2012 along with 15 others for his involvement in the Holyland affair, in which a wide array of top politicians were allegedly bribed to smooth over legal and zoning obstacles for the massive project.

The chief witness in the case claimed he paid Lupolianski upwards of NIS 2.5 million to help expedite approval for the construction project. According to the witness, Lupolianski said he would assist him if the donations were made to Yad Sarah, a charitable medical organization he founded.

Lupolianski has denied any wrongdoing, and is widely expected to be acquitted of the charges.

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