Court convicts Upper Nazareth Mayor Gafsou of bribery, fraud

Gafsou is also accused of accepting financial bribes from the head of the Ramle-Lod market in exchange for certain privileges.

February 19, 2015 10:14
1 minute read.

Nazareth . (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon on Thursday convicted both Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafsou and his former top deputy, Adi Barko, on bribery and fraud charges.

The trial started in January 2014.

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After the 2008 municipal elections, Gafsou and Barko had received what constituted a bribe by conditioning the completion of a financial transaction, which City Council member Samyoun Brown was involved in, on his resigning from the council.

Gafsou is also accused of accepting financial bribes from the head of the Ramle-Lod market in exchange for certain privileges.
The indictment also accuses Gafsou of bribing various persons to support his election by promising them jobs with the municipality after his election, as well as executing a secret coalition agreement with another local party in violation of election law.

Following the indictment and shortly before the October 2013 municipal elections, Gafsou was fired by the High Court of Justice, along with two other indicted mayors, Ramat Hasharon’s Yitzchak Rochberger and Bat Yam’s Shlomo Lahiani.

However, the High Court left open the possibility of Gafsou running for reelection and he won by a landslide, despite the bad press associated with the indictment and his firing.

Soon after the election, the NGO Ometz filed a petition with the High Court to re-fire Gafsou, but the Knesset passed a law in December 2013 providing for suspending mayors under indictment under certain circumstances, and Gafsou was eventually indefinitely suspended under the law.

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