(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police released former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner and former Israel Lands Administration head Yaakov Efrati to house arrest for 10 days on Sunday, following their arrest last week on bribery suspicions which surfaced during an investigation into the Holyland real estate bribery affair.
Dankner is suspected of paying NIS 1.5 million in bribes to Efrati in order to ensure that industrial land he owned in Atlit could be converted into profitable real estate developments. He has denied all suspicions against him.
“I can’t address the investigation. I fully believe in my innocence,” Dankner said during his remand hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Sunday.
Joseph Benkel, an attorney representing Dankner, said after the remand
hearing that his client had “no connection” to the suspicions against
him, adding that he “did not know” what new evidence had been uncovered
“This is a known story, and there is nothing new in it. These
suspicions have been examined by former Attorney-General Menahem
Mazuz,” Benkel said.
The state’s witness in the Holyland real estate bribery investigation
directed police to allegedly incriminating documents showing how
property developer Meir Rabin allegedly mediated between Dankner and
Efrati and passed on bribe money, resulting in their arrests last week.
Both men have been forbidden from leaving the country for 180 days, and
have been placed on restrictive measures regarding their communications
Efrati, who chairman of Israel Railways, received special police
permission to contact Israel Railways’s company secretary, on condition
that calls are coordinated with the National Fraud Unit.
A third senior Jerusalem Municipality councilman, former deputy mayor
Eli Simhayoff, was released to 10 days’ house arrest on Sunday by the
Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.
Simhayoff is suspected of “taking the initiative and demanding”
hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribe money for himself, and after
allegedly receiving the cash, he “divided it between himself and others
in the municipality.”