Mayor of Hadera arrested on corruption charges

Haim Avitan arrested on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust; also suspected of money laundering, tax evasion.

June 9, 2013 18:16
1 minute read.
Mayor of Hadera, Haim Avitan

Mayor of Hadera370. (photo credit: The Municipality of Hadera )


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The Israel Police’s National Fraud Unit arrested Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan on Sunday morning on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

A National Fraud Unit official said Sunday that Avitan is also suspected of being involved in money laundering and tax evasion.

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In addition to Avitan, 12 other senior municipality officials – including the mayor’s brother Eli Avitan – were arrested as part of the investigation.

The investigation includes suspicions that city officials took bribes from contractors working with the municipality, and then laundered the money.

The raid was carried out by police and Tax Authority enforcement agents at the Hadera Municipality and at the suspects’ homes and offices, following an investigation carried out for months against the municipality.

On Sunday, the suspects were brought for a remand extension at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.

During the hearing, before extending municipality economic branch head Hagit Golan’s remand by eight days, Judge Menahem Mizrahi said the case “is of a severe nature and presents a clear picture of criminal elements infiltrating the highest levels of the Hadera Municipality in a systematic way over a long period of time.”

Avitan is the latest in a series of municipality leaders arrested on bribery and fraud charges.

In late May, the National Fraud Unit arrested Elad Mayor Yitzhak Idan on suspicion of bribery, fraud and money laundering, four days after Yehud Mayor Yossi Ben-David was arrested on similar charges.

Also in recent months, Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso, Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani, and Ramat Hasharon Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger have faced simliar charges.

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