Former Bank Hapoalim chairman gets 3 years in prison for Holyland conviction

Dankner also fined NIS 500,000 and will have NIS 1 million in assets seized in sentence for bribery, money laundering.

May 13, 2014 15:32
2 minute read.
Dan Dankner

Dan Dankner. (photo credit: POOL)


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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was not the only high-profile public figure to receive a jail sentence on Tuesday. The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced former Bank Hapoalim chairman and Israel Salt Industries director Dan Dankner to three years in prison for his conviction on bribery and money laundering charges in the Holyland real estate trial.

Dankner was also sentenced to two years probation, received a NIS 500,000 fine, and will have NIS 1 million in assets seized.

Nonetheless, he continued to deny the bribery charges after the verdict: “I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: I never took part in bribery. I’m sure the Supreme Court will make sure justice is served.”

Ahead of the sentencing, Judge David Rozen said that Dankner “used his position as a member of Israel Salt Industries’ board of directors to transfer hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribe money.”

The state had sought a five-to-eight-year prison sentence and a NIS 3.2m.

fine for Dankner. He was convicted in March on three counts of bribery in the Holyland trial for transferring a total of NIS 1.3m. to Meir Rabin, the personal assistant of real estate investor Shmuel Duchner.

Duchner had been the state’s main witness in the Holyland case before he passed away last year during the trial. He had allegedly been intimately involved in bribing public officials to advance construction of the Holyland project in Jerusalem.

The money that Dankner gave Rabin was passed on to former Israel Lands Authority chief Ya’acov Efrati so he would make favorable land rulings for Dankner.

The former Bank Hapoalim chairman was also convicted of receiving false receipts from Rabin for the money transfers and displaying them as earnings in Israel Salt Industries’ books. Dankner’s money- laundering conviction came from his presenting money given to Duchner’s companies as salary or advances.

In December 2013, Dankner was sentenced to 12 months in prison in a separate case pertaining to crimes he committed in his role as Bank Hapoalim chairman. In that case, he signed a plea bargain with the state in which he confessed to charges of fraud and breach of trust, and harming the proper management of a banking corporation.

Besides Olmert and Dankner, five other individuals were sentenced in the Holyland case on Tuesday.

Rabin received five years in prison for taking bribes.

He was fined NIS 500,000, and the judge ordered the seizure of NIS 500,000 worth of his assets.

Hillel Cherny, the main initiator behind the Holyland real estate project, received a three-and-ahalf- year prison sentence, a NIS 2m. fine, and NIS 1m. in asset forfeiture.

Avigdor Kellner, who was convicted of bribing municipal officials, was given a three-year prison sentence, a NIS 1m. fine and NIS 500,000 in asset forfeiture.

Uri Sheetrit, the Jerusalem municipality chief engineer under Olmert, received seven years in jail, a fine of NIS 1m. and the seizure of NIS 500,000 in assets.

Former deputy Jerusalem mayor Eliezer Simhayof was sentenced to threeand- a-half years in prison and fined NIS 300,000, as well as forfeiting NIS 165,000 in assets.

The sentencing of Olmert’s former aide Shula Zaken is set for Thursday, while former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski and former Jerusalem official Avraham Penner are scheduled to be sentenced June 9.

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