Mayor of Hadera370.
(photo credit: The Municipality of Hadera )
The Israel Police’s National Fraud Unit arrested Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan on
Sunday morning on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
National Fraud Unit official said Sunday that Avitan is also suspected of being
involved in money laundering and tax evasion.
In addition to Avitan, 12
other senior municipality officials – including the mayor’s brother Eli Avitan –
were arrested as part of the investigation.
The investigation includes
suspicions that city officials took bribes from contractors working with the
municipality, and then laundered the money.
The raid was carried out by
police and Tax Authority enforcement agents at the Hadera Municipality and at
the suspects’ homes and offices, following an investigation carried out for
months against the municipality.
On Sunday, the suspects were brought for
a remand extension at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.
hearing, before extending municipality economic branch head Hagit Golan’s remand
by eight days, Judge Menahem Mizrahi said the case “is of a severe nature and
presents a clear picture of criminal elements infiltrating the highest levels of
the Hadera Municipality in a systematic way over a long period of
Avitan is the latest in a series of municipality leaders arrested
on bribery and fraud charges.
In late May, the National Fraud Unit
arrested Elad Mayor Yitzhak Idan on suspicion of bribery, fraud and money
laundering, four days after Yehud Mayor Yossi Ben-David was arrested on similar
Also in recent months, Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso, Bat
Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani, and Ramat Hasharon Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger have faced