A former Tel Aviv chief prosecutor, police investigator, prominent lawyer and several powerful businessmen were all indicted on Thursday by the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department (PID) in Jerusalem District Court.
Those indicted were former Tel Aviv district-attorney Ruth David, former Israel Police Asst.-Ch. Eran Malka, attorney Ronel Fisher and businessmen Yair Biton, Shai Baras as well as Yosef and Aviv Nahmias.
As head of the Tel Aviv State Attorney’s Office, David was one of the most powerful prosecutor’s in the country, in a post whose holders are regularly under consideration to became the state attorney.
State Attorney Shai Nitzan called such a senior law enforcement official being part of a bribery scandal “without precedent.”
David retired from public service and in 2013 joined Fisher’s law firm.
Late Thursday the Justice Ministry announced that Weinstein had approved an initial police investigation into whether David acted improperly in any cases between 2002-2010, when she was head of the Tel Aviv office.
Malka was a high-level investigator in the police and Fisher had represented top police commanders like Dep.-Ch. Ephraim Bracha and power brokers like Ashdod Port union head Alon Hassan.
The 29-page indictment states that Malka, in his capacity as a top investigator, gathered a variety of secrets relating to the National Fraud Squad’s investigations, both those he was running and those run by his colleagues.
Malka was exposed to some of the state’s most sensitive intelligence secrets, whose exposure could severely harm the public interest, said the indictment.
Over the years, Malka allegedly shared many of these secrets with Fisher, such as when surprise arrests were scheduled for, what questions would be asked in interrogations and classified information, as they initiated a joint illegal and unofficial economic partnership.
According to the indictment, Malka sold information about some of the most sensitive and classified investigations for bribes, harming the basic ethics of the police.
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 that were obtained through a felony.
Much of the case broke when Hassan provided details to the police when he was under investigation, including catching Fisher in a sting operation with the police related to Fisher allegedly receiving $150,000 from Hassan for illegal purposes.
The case further broke open when “Ayin,” an employee of Fisher’s who has turned state’s witness and whose name is under gag order, revealed many of the defendants’ alleged schemes.
To illegally share information the indictment stated the defendants’ alleged process as follows: Malka created a secret email address, “Alfoniv-7,” for sending Fisher information.
Malka would then inform Ayin with a WhatsApp message that she should “go into 7,” code for Fisher’s employee to check the illegal emails.
Ayin would access the secret email account, print out the material and deliver it to Fisher or place it into a special office drawer designated for that information.
Malka allegedly provided Fisher information at meetings and via Internet messages.
The former police investigator would tip off Fisher who was being investigated, so Fisher could meet the suspects, impress them with his knowledge of the secret cases against them of which they were still unaware and impress them with his police connections – all in order that they would hire him as the defense lawyer.
One major case mentioned was a 2012 classified investigation in which Malka was involved against now imprisoned crime boss Yitzhak Abergil, Biton and his associates.
Biton has been separately indicted for a scheme of allegedly moving NIS 50 million from a public company to Abergil’s interests, including a casino in Romania.
Fisher was Biton’s lawyer at the time and both Fisher and David were friendly with Biton.
In 2013 and part of 2014, Malka allegedly provided Fisher with significant classified information to help him fend off charges against Biton.
In March 2014, Fisher met with David and illegally reviewed the classified material they had received in order to strategize for Biton how to beat the investigation and interrogation.
Fisher and David then flew to Budapest to meet with Biton and illegally revealed to him the classified information they had obtained, which David carried in an envelope.
They did the same with Biton again on April 30, 2014.
On May 4, 2014, Malka warned Fisher that Biton’s surprise arrest was set for May 7, 2014, and suggested Biton pretend to need to be hospitalized that day so that he could not be arrested.
Biton was hospitalized at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem and his surprise arrest was postponed until May 19.
Prior to May 19, Malka warned Fisher again, and Fisher had Biton sleepover at Fisher’s house on May 19.
The police then arrested Biton at Fisher’s house, but Fisher and Malka had allegedly committed additional obstructions of justice.
The indictment deals with one other obstruction of justice case involving David and the following cases involving Malka and Fisher: the Nahmias family case (also involving defendants Yosef and Aviv Nahmias), the Baras case (also involving defendant Baras), the Hassan case (Hassan may still be indicted later), the Ayalon Mahluf case, the Kobi Kahlon case (also involving Biton), the Rami Doani case, the case against former Ma’ariv owner Ofer Nimrodi, the Yehoshua Lubinski case and the Zohar Butzin case.
Nimrodi has been arrested and investigated for allegedly trying to bribe Malka in exchange for receiving information about the case against himself.
The PID asked that the court order Fisher and Malka remanded to police custody until the end of the proceedings, while not making the same request for David, who reportedly is cooperating with the investigation against her.
Also, the PID requested seizure of substantial property of Fisher’s upon his conviction.
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