(photo credit: Channel 10 )
Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani has been remanded in custody until Tuesday at 8 p.m. after being arrested on suspicion of economic crimes.
The decision came Monday night in a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court.
The National Fraud Unit arrested Lahiani, several of his relatives and other employees of the city's municipality at the conclusion of a confidential investigation into the official's financial dealings.
Among those arrested in the early morning raid was Lahiani's brother.
Investigators suspect that Lahiani may have committed crimes including fraud, official misconduct and an excessive waste of public funds.
Lahiani is also suspected of using the municipality he headed as a vehicle for issuing construction permits for the purpose of monetary gain.
Monday's arrests began before dawn, when dozens of inspectors arrived at Lahiani's house and the houses of other Bat Yam Municipality officials armed with search warrants. They also searched the municipality building, seizing computers and documents as evidence.
Lahiani is also suspected of practicing cronyism to a criminal extent. In a report published in September, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss claimed that the Bat Yam mayor had in 2008 promoted his wife to the position of campaign manager at a salary of several hundred thousand shekels per year.
"In my eyes, there is no difference whatsoever whether the person who manages the election headquarters is Dorit Lahiani or Micha Lindenstrauss; whoever did the work deserves the money, period," Lahiani said in his defense in an interview with Army Radio at the time.
Lindenstrauss had retaliated by terming Lahiani's arguments "absurd."