Port of Ashdod.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police on Wednesday recommended prosecuting suspended Ashdod Port union chief Alon Hassan on a series of bribery and corruption charges.
In May, police arrested or detained Hassan and 14 others employed by the Ashdod Port or affiliated private companies on suspicion of bribery and corruption.
Hassan allegedly used his influence at the port to seal lucrative deals with companies in which he, his friends and his family had financial interests.
The arrests, which were accompanied by home and office searches, followed a yearlong undercover police investigation carried out in cooperation with the Israel Tax Authority and the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority. Investigators looked into suspected bribery, fraud, breach of trust, abuse of power, extortion, private gain of a public worker and violations of the Prohibition on Money Laundering Law.
A representative of the Police Intelligence Branch said at the time that the bribes totaled around NIS 10 million and were paid over the past two or three years.
At the time, the police said Hassan made money on both ends of the deal, first by taking bribes from the company with the promise that it would win tenders to provide services at the port, and second because he is connected to people running the company.
Among them was Hassan’s cousin David Hassan, the deputy chief of Dana Port Services and Logistics, one of the companies suspected of unlawful dealings with the port.
On Wednesday, a Beersheba court rejected the company’s petition to be able to return to work with the port, upholding a ban that prevents the company from entering the port’s territory.
Meanwhile, the Histadrut labor federation has not taken steps to replace Hassan, even as their internal rules specify that elections should be held within 30 days should a worker’s committee head be unable to perform his job, Calcalist reported. Avinoam Lily, his temporary replacement, unexpectedly asked to step down this week.
Last week, a motorcyclist fired from point blank range at the state’s witness in the Ashdod Port corruption case, in front of hundreds of witnesses in the center of Kfar Saba on Tuesday morning.
Several bullets penetrated the driver’s side door and window of the car, but no one was hurt in the shooting, which happened while the witness was sitting in his car with his wife and seven-month-old baby.Ben Hartman contributed to this report.