Former Ramat Gan mayor Zvi Bar.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
The Parole Board on Tuesday granted an early release from prison to former Ramat Gan mayor Zvi Bar for multiple convictions of bribery and money-laundering after he served only 10 months of what was originally a five-and-a-half year sentence.
Bar’s first break came when the Supreme Court reduced his October 2015 sentence handed down by the Tel Aviv District Court to three years.
Then, last month, President Reuven Rivlin commuted Bar’s three-year sentence to 15 months.
Finally, on Tuesday, the Parole Board ruled that Bar met the standard for slicing off a third of his remaining sentence to 10 months, due to good behavior in prison, an agreement to a rehabilitation program, being a minimal threat to return to crime and his poor health at age 83.
Unlike with other public figures, the state prosecution did not oppose his early release, likely in large part due to his poor health and age.
Bar was mayor for 24 years, from 1989 to 2013, and had denied all of the charges against him in the trial.
The charges had included accusations of accepting around NIS 2 million in bribes and carrying out a series of illegal interventions in real estate transactions in the city.
At trial, the prosecution asked for a nine-year prison sentence.
The original district court punishment was overall a heavy sentence on the spectrum of possible prison terms for bribery, in which the court noted that Bar was “central,” “involved in all of the bribery schemes” and had “exploited his high position to obtain bribes.”
Former Ramat Gan City Council member Carmel Shama, who blew the whistle on Bar, said at the time that the original sentence was “a moment of restoring deterrence, for justice and the rule of law.”