(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Real estate developer and Likud party activist David Appel was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Tuesday by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, after being convicted of giving bribes to senior local officials to promote his development projects.
The affair was described by the court as one of Israel’s most severe real estate bribery scams.
Before the sentencing, Appel, wearing a black kippa and a suit, told
reporters outside the court, “I have been silent for 11 years, but I
will no longer be silent after this.”
He was convicted in April of giving bribes to former Lod mayor Benny
Regev, former head of the Givat Shmuel Regional Council Zamir Ben- Ari,
and former senior Israel Lands Administration official Oded Tal.
Appel was also ordered by the court to pay a NIS 1 million fine or serve
an additional 20 months in prison.
Appel transferred NIS 1.4m. in bribes to Regev during the late 1990s,
the court found. The money was then used in 1998 by Regev to finance his
mayoral elections campaign.
The money was transferred via the Migdal Hazohar real estate company.
Appel is due to enter prison at the beginning of September.
Regev, convicted of accepting bribes, was sentenced to a year and a half
in prison. Appel’s assistant, Benny Tavin, was sentenced to two years.
In its ruling, the court described the affair as one of the most
widespread corruption affairs in the state’s history.
Appel bribed a mayor in order to collect vast sums, the court said.
In 2004, Appel was charged with bribing then-prime minister Ariel
Sharon, in what became known as the Greek Island Affair, and was also
charged with five other bribe offenses.
Then-attorney-general Menahem Mazuz eventually ruled that Sharon could
not be charged with receiving bribes from Appel. As of September 2008,
all but one bribery charge against Appel had been dropped.