Police confirm Bitan corruption probe, announce new evidence

‘I have no problem if they examine and investigate all they want,’ says coalition head.

By
October 25, 2017 11:44
1 minute read.
David Bitan

David Bitan. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

One day after reports surfaced of a corruption investigation being carried out against coalition chairman and Likud MK David Bitan by Lahav 443 – The National Crime Unit, police on Wednesday confirmed the probe and said new evidence has emerged.

While no criminal charges have been filed against Bitan, police said the allegations stem from the repayment of a reported NIS 7 million debt the politician accrued while serving as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion between 2005 and 2015.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


He is accused of accepting money from unidentified businessmen to pay off the debt in return for green-lighting construction projects and other favors during his tenure as chairman of the city’s local zoning board.

The probe, which has since ensnared several Rishon Lezion officials, was authorized by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan.

On Wednesday, it emerged that Bitan partially ran into debt while serving as chairman of the Hapoel Rishon Lezion soccer team, when he allegedly borrowed a portion of the money from the “gray market” to invest in the club.

Bitan has categorically denied the allegations against him, which he dismissed as retaliation for his recent criticism of the police as they also investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on multiple corruption charges.


He claims his debt was no more than NIS 600,000, which was repaid with the help of family members.

While acknowledging that he was investigated for corruption by the police in 2010, he noted that the charges were subsequently dropped and the case closed.

“I have no problem if they examine and investigate all they want,” Bitan said on Tuesday. “It is recycled material.

There is no new information.”

He added: “The person who has been giving information to the police is someone I don’t know. I can only say that the timing of this whole story is not incidental. Moreover, no one will discourage me, and I will continue to represent the loyal voters.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A
December 17, 2018
Israel will stop use of coal for energy purposes by 2030

By REUTERS