Danker, Efrati released to 10-day house arrest

"I believe in my innocence," says former Bank Hapoalim chairman suspected of bribery.

April 25, 2010 18:12
1 minute read.
The Holyland real estate project (Ariel Jerozolims

HOLYLAND 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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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 by police.

“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 with others.

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.”

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