Holyland state witness: I bribed former TA mayor
State witness says he gave money to Ovadia Yosef and to Arye Deri for his legal battles.
Holyland Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
The state witness continued to sling accusations and mention more public
figures, including former Tel Aviv mayor Shlomo Lahat and Shas spiritual leader
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, during Tuesday’s sequel to the Holyland trial’s
The state witness, or “S.D.” as he is known
under a gag order, said he had bribed Lahat to get him to help move forward
certain projects relating to Dizengoff Center and other neighborhoods in Tel
Aviv. Under cross-examination, S.D. said he financed 15 Avis cars for Lahat as
well as various other items.
Next, S.D. mentioned that he had given NIS
600,000- 700,000 to Yosef through various Shas institutions.
these funds, S.D. did not mention any specific goal of bribery or accuse
Yosef of any criminal conduct.
S.D. also said he had given $350,000 to
Arye Deri for his legal battles, while he was still Shas’s leader. S.D. also
testified that he complained to Deri for not thanking him for the funds, Deri
responded that he had never received them, and S.D. eventually concluded that
Deri’s intermediary stole the funds.
The Holyland trial involves former
prime minister Ehud Olmert and 15 other defendants in a massive alleged bribery
and fraud scheme to push through a large residential building project at the
site where the Holyland hotel once stood, despite building and zoning
During the first stage of the trial, S.D. lashed out at wide
range of public officials and businessmen. For over a month, S.D. and the state
had sole control of the microphone and the defense was forced to remain mostly
All of that changed on Monday as Giora Aderet, attorney for
businessman Hillel Cherny, began to cross-examine S.D. Cherny continued his
cross-examination on Tuesday, claiming he had caught S.D. in over 50
At times, there was also significant tension and verbal
dueling between S.D., Aderet and even presiding Judge David Rozen.
line of questioning that Aderet aggressively pursued was the attempt to prove
instances in which S.D. admitted to having decided on his own to bribe public
officials. Undoubtedly, one line of defense Aderet will pursue for Cherny will
be to argue that the businessman did not know S.D. was giving bribes and that
S.D. made these decisions on his own as well.
While making the state’s
case, S.D. had previously testified that Cherny was the main investor and
director of the bribes.