The Petah Tikva District Court rejected on Monday an appeal launched by Uri Messer against a decision by a Rishon Lezion Magistrate to extend his custody by five days.
On Sunday, Rishon Lezion Magistrate Judge Avraham Haiman extended Messer's custody by five days, complying in full with the police custody request.
On Monday, Judge Avraham Tal of the Petah Tikva district Court rejected claims by Messer's attorney, Shimon Dolan, that the police had no legal basis to keep his client in custody. Dolan argued that police were seeking to retain Messer in custody only because law enforcement officials were "waiting [to question] people who are currently abroad," referring to Olmert, who is scheduled to return to Israel this weekend.
Messer, a former close associate of ex-premier Ehud Olmert, issuspected of acting as an intermediary on behalf of businessmenseeking to bribe public officials. He allegedly transferred hundreds ofthousands of shekels in cash to key decision makers to obtain approvalfor real estate projects ranging from the Tzuk Menara land developmentplan in the Galilee, projects by the Zera company, and the Holylandresidential development in Jerusalem.