(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) was questioned for the sixth time at the Lahav 433 headquarters in Lod on Sunday as part of the Rishon Lezion corruption probe. As he did during the previous rounds of questioning, Bitan chose to remain silent and did not answer his interrogators.
The questioning took less than two hours.
When he was summoned for questioning earlier this month, Bitan presented a note to his interrogators explaining why he did not intend to cooperate with them.
“Because you are pressuring people to deliver false testimonies, I use my right to remain silent,” it said.
Bitan is suspected of accepting bribe money, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust.
In the investigation, dubbed Case 1803, police suspect that Bitan used his power as deputy mayor to benefit various businessmen, real-estate contractors and organized crime groups in exchange for money.
He is also suspected of having laundered money he received and presenting the bribes as consultancy fees.
Recently it was reported that police are negotiating a state’s witness deal with Moshe Yosef, Bitan’s close associate who has been nicknamed “the treasurer,” and who was allegedly the intermediary for bribe money from real-estate contractors and entrepreneurs to Bitan.
It was also reported that real-estate entrepreneur Dror Glazer – who delivered his “dramatic” testimony to police two weeks ago – is negotiating a state’s witness deal in the case.
According to media reports, during his questioning, Glazer confirmed delivering bribe money to Bitan and to Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Arnon Giladi.
In his last round of questioning, Glazer told interrogators that he bribed Bitan using Yosef as a mediator.
Channel 10 News then reported that Glazer told police he met with Bitan several times.
“He [Bitan] was the one who decided on the amount of money, and turned me to Yosef for assistance,” Glazer was quoted as saying. “He initiated everything.”
“The connection between us started five years ago,” the report quoted Glazer as saying. “We did three joint projects – two residential projects and one of the students’ dormitories. For each step Bitan received money.”