The manager of the “Hai-Park” zoo in Kiryat Motzkin is currently in jail on suspicion of taking bribes and being involved in the embezzlement of millions of shekels from the coffers of the state-run zoo.
Haifa police arrested 66-year-old Yigal Fadida on Monday, after what they said was a year and a half spent investigating the zoo manager.
In the Haifa Magistrate’s court on Tuesday morning, Chief Inspector Oded Ben-Menashe told the judge that “the suspect is believed to have used his position as manager of the Hai Park Zoo to fraudulently take millions of shekels using sophisticated means along with other co-conspirators who helped him systematically over the years.”
During the court hearing, one of Fadida’s attorneys asked Ben-Menashe if police had tried to get Fadida to give them information about Kiryat Motzkin mayor Haim Tzuri while under questioning. Ben-Menashe denied that such a request was made.
Fadida is described as a close confidant of the mayor, who appointed him to head the zoo in 2011, after he had been working there as a volunteer shortly after declaring bankruptcy.
Due to the concern that he could potentially try to obstruct investigators, the judge ordered Fadida kept in custody for five days.