Only weeks before municipal elections, the state’s financial crimes unit on Tuesday filed an indictment against Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of public trust and perjury.

Lahiani is suspected of taking around NIS 900,000 in bribes, starting in 2005, to advance the interests of local businessmen in Bat Yam and asking nine municipality employees to take bank loans and transfer the money to him.

Lahiani is also accused of a conflict of interest for holding partial ownership in a local newspaper from which the Bat Yam municipality bought advertising space.

Prior to the indictment, Lahiani was considered a highly popular mayor and was credited with a level of revitalization of Bat Yam.

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