In an indictment served in the Tel Aviv District Court over the weekend, the state attorney's office charged a London-based businessman with handing Ramat Gan mayor Zvi Bar almost a million shekels in bribes to advance a lucrative real estate project in the city.
Emanuel Arbib, an Italian citizen and CEO of London-based investment firm Integrated Asset Management PLC, is alleged to have given Bar bribes totaling NIS 977, 743 to influence local planning committees to green-light the Beit Lir Or project, in which Arbib's company Blantfort Investment Management Ltd had a substantial interest.
Mayor of Ramat Gan since 1989, at time of the alleged bribes Bar was chief the local Planning and Zoning Committee and was a member of the District Building Committee, and was in a position to exert considerable influence, the indictment charges.
Arbib is also charged in the indictment with money laundering offenses. The businessman allegedly concealed the bribe by disguising it as a £225,000 to Bar from London-based company, Grove Property Finance Ltd.