Indictment filed against former tax investigator Vanunu

Vanunu is accused of taking bribes, extortion, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud and breach of trust.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
March 10, 2011 10:02
2 minute read.
David Vanunu

David Vanunu 311. (photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)

 
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David Vanunu, a senior Tax Authority official, was indicted on five serious charges Thursday in the Tel Aviv District Court.

Vanunu, who heads the National Investigations and Field Intelligence Branch, is accused of taking bribes, extortion, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud and breach of trust.

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The indictment followed a months-long investigation by the Tax Authority and police investigative units – including the National Fraud Unit, Lahav 443.

The indictment accuses Vanunu of systematically “imposing terror” on taxpayers, dating back to 2000.

He is alleged to have exposed classified information, requested exorbitant bribes, and attempted to influence appointments for his own benefit and the benefit of his associates.

In 2007, Vanunu started a “side business” with businessman Ran Hadar, who would refer “clients” to Vanunu who had tax investigations against them. The two would then split the profits.



Vanunu and Hadar subsequently turned to Yoel Mugami, a political adviser to Kadima, to refer additional clients. Hadar died in 2009.

The indictment focused on the tax controversy surrounding popular singer Kobi Peretz, who was accused of evading taxes in 2008, and required to pay NIS 350,000 to the Tax Authority. According to the indictment, Peretz’s manager, Yohai Yaish, turned to Mugami for help with the tax investigation.

Vanunu and Hadar allegedly told Yaish that the investigation could be closed for a fee of NIS 150,000 to 180,000 – payable to the Tax Authority – plus an additional fee of NIS 50,000 for the two of them.

When Yaish declined to pay, Vanunu threatened him, claiming Yaish had tax problems of his own, and Yaish agreed to pay Vanunu a NIS 200,000 bribe to “fix” the tax troubles.

Peretz eventually settled with the Tax Authority separately.

The investigation also implicated attorney Dalia Shahuri, the wife of Kadima director-general Moshe Shahuri, who reportedly also asked Mugami for help with a tax investigation.

Vanunu reportedly agreed to help her in exchange for appointing one of his associates to a senior position in the Kadima computer department.

Moshe Shahuri and Mugami – who was a political adviser to Shahuri – were both arrested at the same time as Vanunu on February 15 in the police’s sweeping corruption probe.

Prosecutors requested that Vanunu be detained for the length of his trial. He was remanded for an additional week on Thursday.

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