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Former Police Ch.-Insp. Eran Malka was convicted on Wednesday of bribery and other charges by the Jerusalem District Court as part of a plea bargain arrangement in which he turned state’s witness against an even higher police commander, former Asst.-Ch. Bruno Stein.
Malka, who is likely to serve years in prison since his deal reportedly only protects his family’s money and pension benefits, was indicted May 14 along with former head Tel Aviv state prosecutor Ruth David; lawyer Ronel Fisher; businessman Yair Biton; and several others in one of the country’s most wild bribery schemes ever uncovered.
He was convicted of passing information on to David and Fisher in exchange for bribes to help them outwit the police as suspects represented by David and Fisher were investigated.
Stein, who was revealed Wednesday as the latest suspect in the scandal, was questioned by police reportedly regarding allegations by Malka that Stein was flown to Budapest by Biton and given limo rides and promised a cushy job in one of the businessman’s companies upon his retirement from the police.
Also on Wednesday, Fisher’s lawyer attacked the prosecution for concealing aspects of its plea deal with Malka and refused to comment on the charges against his client until the issue was resolved in an effort to delay Fisher’s arraignment.
The prosecution responded by saying it planned to request a court order to keep aspects of the deal under wraps.
Additional new charges also emerged on Wednesday, with the state announcing it likely would indict former Ashdod Port chairman Alon Hassan and several other port officials and workers on a wide range of bribery, fraud and extortion charges.
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Hassan was the original player who revealed Fisher’s illegal activities, which subsequently snowballed into the scandal that has netted the other officials.
Despite his revelations, however, it appears the state does not need Hassan’s testimony since Malka and a former employee of Fisher’s known as “Ayin” have been signed up as state’s witnesses.
The original 29-page indictment had stated that Malka, in his capacity as a top investigator, gathered a variety of secrets relating to Lahav 443 National Fraud department investigations, both those he was running and those run by colleagues.
According to the indictment, Malka had access to some of the state’s most sensitive intelligence secrets, the exposure of which could severely harm the public interest.
Over the years, Malka allegedly shared many of these secrets with Fisher, such as the times of scheduled surprise arrests, what questions would be asked in interrogations, and classified information as they began their illegal and unofficial economic partnership.
Fisher, the indictment said, under the veil of his prominence in the legal community and his many connections, used the information he received to frustrate and obstruct ongoing investigations against his clients David was charged with obstruction of justice in two different cases, as well as receiving assets obtained through a felony, mostly while working with Fisher and Malka to save Biton from an impending criminal investigation.
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