(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Indictments could be filed shortly against three municipality heads after police announced Wednesday that they had gathered evidence backing up allegations against Ramat Gan Mayor Yisrael Zinger, Zichron Ya’acov local authority head Eli Abutbul and Hatzor Haglilit local authority head Shimon Suissa.
The most prominent of the three cases involves Zinger – who was arrested in December 2014 along with five other suspects on suspicion of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering. The Ramat Gan mayor and his associates allegedly established a series of favors and kickbacks benefiting those who helped his October 2013 municipal election campaign.
Police said that in the coming days they will hand the case over to state prosecutors.
Apart from evidence supporting the allegations against Zinger, police also found documents incriminating Amnon Botz, the deputy head of Ramat Gan’s cultural department, and an unnamed official from the city inspections office.
The saga of municipal corruption is familiar to Ramat Gan residents; the city’s former veteran mayor, Zvi Bar, left political life in 2013 after he was indicted on bribery and money-laundering charges.
Also Wednesday, police said they finished their investigation against Abutbul, and found evidence that the Zichron Ya’acov local authority head threatened to scuttle projects put up for approval by a local businessman who opposed a project Abutbul supported.
In the Upper Galilee, Suissa could face an indictment after police said Wednesday they found evidence indicating the Hatzor Haglilit local council head received bribes, both before and after the 2013 municipality elections, from a local businessman who wanted him to advocate on behalf of his business interests.
Police said they found tens of thousands of shekels placed in a fund run by associates of Suissa. Those associates also are facing criminal indictments.
Wednesday’s announcements followed one by the State Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday that embattled Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni will be indicted soon on sex crimes and bribery charges.