Petah Tikva Mayor Rami Greenberg was arrested by the National Fraud Investigations Unit in Lahav 433 on Wednesday morning, as well as a municipal director-general and two other suspects.
The suspects were arrested for their alleged involvement in crimes of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, false registration in corporate documents, money laundering and other offenses in accordance with the Income Tax Ordinance and the Value Added Tax Law, according to a police report.
The police investigation began following suspicions that during a 2018 local government election campaign, involved parties transferred funds totaling hundreds of thousands of shekels to the election campaign of the then mayoral candidate - and in return, the latter promised them that he would work to advance their economic affairs after he was elected.
In accordance with developments and for the needs of the investigation, the suspects will be brought for a discussion on the extension of their detention at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
"The Israel Police will continue to act wherever there is suspicion of public corruption which harms the order of the government, and will conduct investigations with the aim of uncovering improper processes, reaching the truth and bringing the perpetrators to justice," the police said in a statement.
The investigation is being conducted in cooperation with the "Diamond" (Yahalom) Unit of the Tax Authority and is accompanied by the Economic Department of the State Attorney's Office.
"These are serious suspicions of electoral purity offenses that must be weeded out in the local government improvise."Tomer Naor, Movement for Quality Government in Israel
Movement for Quality of Government
"According to the publications, there is a suspicion that the mayor in question carried financial and political debts with him from the election campaign and worked to repay them at the expense of the public purse and the public interest. These are serious suspicions of electoral purity offenses that must be weeded out in the local government improvise," attorney Tomer Naor, head of the legal department of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel said.
"The Israel Police and the enforcement authorities must understand that election purity offenses are not offenses that can be taken lightly, but rather ones that often turn into extremely serious criminal cases," Naor said.
Head of Fureidis Council arrested
Lahav 433 recently completed a similar investigation of crimes allegedly committed by the head of the Fureidis Council, located in the Haifa District, its CEO and other officials.
They were charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, as well as crimes in accordance with the Law on the Prohibition of Money Laundering.
After a covert investigation that lasted several months, the investigation moved to its open phase and during August 2021. All the suspects were arrested, searches were carried out and materials related to the crimes investigated were seized.
The suspects allegedly took advantage of their high status and their positions to receive favors from contractors and businessmen. In exchange for this, they promoted the business interests of the latter in the council, by winning tenders for the execution of various projects in the Arab town.
As part of the investigation and its developments, a number of sub-affairs were investigated by Lahav 433, including a fraudulent act under aggravating circumstances by the head of the council, who deliberately misled the planning and construction committee of the Baron settlements.
In addition, there was also a suspicion that he committed tax offenses, even before he took office, and which were investigated in cooperation with the Tax Authority.
The investigation was accompanied by the Criminal Prosecutor's Office in Haifa District.
Upon its completion, the case was transferred for review and a decision by the accompanying prosecutor's office.