Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafsou.
(photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/MAARIV)
Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gafsou was sentenced on Thursday to six months in prison for bribery and fraud.
He will not be able to serve as a mayor for at least seven years from when his prison term ends, due to the court’s finding that his offenses involved moral turpitude It had been determined that following the 2008 local elections, Gafsou and Barko received what constituted a bribe by conditioning the completion of a financial transaction, in which city council member Samyoun Brown was involved, upon his resigning from the council.
Just before the October 2013 local elections, the High Court of Justice fired Gafsou from his position as mayor due to his being indicted.
However, it allowed him to run for reelection, which he won handily.
Last April, Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon gave Gafsou and his former top deputy, Adi Barko, lenient sentences with no jail time and no finding of moral turpitude, paving the way for Gafsou to return to office despite convictions on bribery and fraud charges. Gafsou’s original sentence was six months of community service, a NIS 20,000 fine and a one-year suspended sentence that can be activated if he violates a similar crime in the next three years.
Last year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Gafsou against his conviction and accepted the prosecution’s appeal to stiffen the original sentence he received from the lower court. In accordance with the ruling, Gafsou immediately resigned from his post.
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