Zvi Bar 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Ramat Gan municipality)
A London-based businessman was indicted over the weekend with handing Ramat Gan
Mayor Zvi Bar almost a million shekels in bribes to advance a lucrative
RELATED:Ramat Gan mayor to be indicted on corruption charges
Emanuel Arbib, an Italian citizen and CEO of
London-based investment firm Integrated Asset Management PLC, allegedly gave Bar
bribes totaling NIS 977,743 to influence local planning committees to
green-light the Beit Lir Or project, in which Arbib’s company Blantfort
Investment Management Ltd had a substantial interest.
Mayor since 1989,
at the time of the alleged bribery Bar was chief the local Planning and Zoning
Committee and a member of the District Building Committee, and was in a position
of considerable influence, the indictment served in the Tel Aviv District Court
Arbib is also charged with money-laundering. He allegedly
concealed the bribe by disguising it as a £225,000 loan to Bar from London-based
company Grove Property Finance Ltd.
Bar and his wife allegedly put their
own London apartment up as collateral for that loan, and an agreement was drawn
up setting the repayment period as 360 days at an interest rate of 7% above the
current Barclays rate.
The indictment alleges that the money was
transferred to Bar’s Israeli bank account, but that it was Arbib who began to
repay it, transferring money from several bank accounts to Grove Property
Finance, in violation of money-laundering laws.
The State Attorney’s
Office also filed a request under the Prohibition of Money Laundering Act (2000)
that the court confiscate a NIS 1.8 million Herzliya apartment owned by
News of the alleged Ramat Gan corruption scandal first broke in
April, when the State Attorney’s Office informed Bar he might be indicted,
subject to a hearing, on a string of charges including fraud, income tax
violations, money-laundering, breach of trust and accepting bribes from several
real-estate entrepreneurs to advance projects in the city.
indictment against Arbib, the Ramat Gan Municipality said that Bar did not
intend to resign from his post as mayor and slammed the allegations against him