Ashdod Port scandal suspect arrested for witness tampering

The suspects received bribes or made money through their partnership in the companies, according to police.

July 29, 2014 17:27
1 minute read.
Ashdod Port.

Ashdod port 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The CEO of a company at the heart of the Ashdod Port corruption case was arrested on Monday on charges of obstruction, for allegedly trying to manipulate port officials and witnesses against him.

The suspect, Yaniv Belter, is the CEO of Dana Port Group, one of the companies at the heart of the scandal, which is accused of purchasing port services at a fraction of the normal price because of Belter’s ties to Ashdod Port Workers Union head Alon Hassan.

Another suspect, Hassan’s cousin David Hassan, was arrested along with Belter on Monday but was released to house arrest.

Belter and David Hassan were among 15 suspects, including Alon Hassan, whom the Israel Police arrested part of a major corruption case built in coordination with National Tax Authority investigators. Ashdod Port CEO Shuki Sagis, who resigned in July, was among those arrested.

Shareholders of Shemen Oil and Gas Exploration Ltd. were questioned for their dealings with the court, though the company has denied wrongdoing.

The case involves suspicions that port officials, including Hassan, created mechanisms for helping private companies that they were close to or that were run by associates, in their dealings with the port. The suspects received bribes or made money through their partnership in the companies, according to police.

At the time of the arrests, police estimated the bribes totaled around NIS 10 million paid over the past two or three years.

In June, Alon Hassan was at the center of another major police case, when well-known lawyer and media personality Ronal Fisher was arrested on suspicion of being the middleman in a series of bribery deals. The case includes allegations that he took tens of thousands of dollars from Hassan in exchange for an offer to hand over details of the investigation against him. He also was reported as having tipped off Hassan about a raid on his offices at Ashdod Port.

Fisher was arrested following a sting operation during which he handed over a suitcase to Hassan.

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