Ex-fraud cop: State’s witness likely has Holyland tapes

Lupolianski, Hasson released to house arrest.

April 19, 2010 02:43
3 minute read.
Eliyahu Hasson.

Eliyahu Hasson 311. (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)


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The National Fraud Unit investigating the Holyland corruption affair has bank transfer records that allegedly show how some of the tens of millions of shekels in bribes changed hands, and probably has recordings made by the state’s witness in the investigation, a former senior police investigator who served in the unit for 21 years told The Jerusalem Post late last week.

“We have a state’s witness who probably has recordings of the suspects. He owes millions in debts, he wants money [from the state in exchange for testifying], and therefore he gave police the [incriminating] material in his possession. If police get hold of money-transfer records and see the bribe money being moved, the case no longer hinges on the state’s witness,” Dep.-Cmdr. (ret.) Boaz Guttman said.

Such steps aimed at gathering evidence supporting the state’s witness’s account are crucial if the investigation is to succeed, Guttman stressed.

“No matter what the state’s witness does, and even if he is caught lying on some things, an independent case can still be assembled,” he said.

Guttman said his own experience has shown that state’s witnesses “can be problematic.” He added that he had helped send a state’s witness to prison for three years for lying to police after he discovered that his account had been false.

“You’re using one criminal against another when you use state’s witnesses,” Guttman said. “State’s witnesses are not angels. But they must have marginal roles [in the crimes]. Principal offenders cannot be state’s witnesses.

Then you set about documenting his account, and eventually, the admissible parts can be used in court,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Fraud Unit on Sunday released two suspects in the Holyland investigation to house arrest; former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski, arrested last week on suspicion of accepting more than NIS 3 million in bribes in exchange for ensuring that the Holyland housing plan was approved, and Eliyahu Hasson, an accountant for Holyland who is suspected of transferring bribery funds to officials.

Hasson has faced intense pressure by police to become a second state’s witness in the investigation. Police refused to confirm or deny reports that Lupolianski has failed to cooperate with interrogators.

Channel 2 reported that several haredi supporters gathered outside of Lupolianski’s Jerusalem home to offer him support, with some shouting that he would become “the next prime minister of Israel.”

Earlier on Sunday, Cmdr. (ret.) Yaakov Borovsky, former head of the police’s northern district and an ex-adviser to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, told the Post that “many complaints” alleging improper conduct by Olmert when he was mayor of Jerusalem and minister of trade, industry and labor passed through Lindenstrauss’s office.

“Complaints over Olmert’s conduct over the construction of the Mamila shopping plaza and the Malcha shopping center were received,” Borovsky said. “Some complaints related to Olmert’s relationship with property developer and businessman Alfred Akirov, [who constructed Mamila].”

Complaints alleging criminal offenses were then passed on to state prosecutors, Borovsky added.

On Saturday, investigative journalist Yoav Yitzhak, who broke the Holyland story in 2008, published new revelations on how the investigation began. Yitzhak described how he got in touch with former deputy head of the National Fraud Unit, Dep.-Cmdr. Nahum Levi, and provided him with a list of alleged bribe givers and takers. While he refused to tell police the source for the information, Yitzhak did meet with detectives to provide them with a full account of what he had learned, setting off an investigation that involved more than 100 National Fraud Unit investigators.

The state’s witness in the investigation, Yitzhak said, fell into a debt of millions of shekels on the gray market (private companies that offer loans to borrowers who are not in a financial position to receive bank loans), and became alarmed at the prospect of being arrested in the Holyland affair. This prompted him to get in touch with former senior policeman Cmdr. (ret.) Aryeh Amit, who helped mediate between the state’s witness and the National Fraud Unit, and pave the way to an agreement between them.

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