Case against Bitan significantly strengthened

Gag order placed on details against former coalition chairman.

David Bitan (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
David Bitan
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A significant development in the corruption case against MK David Bitan (Likud) emerged on Tuesday, when a gag order was imposed on details that will reportedly provide police with further incriminating information against the former coalition chairman.
Meanwhile, one of the main suspects in the municipal corruption Case 1802, Moshe Yosef, who received the nickname “the treasurer,” was summoned to the Lahav 433 national crime unit headquarters in Lod to testify in the investigation. Police suspect that Yosef mediated bribe money coming from various people that went to Bitan.
Yosef has been under house arrest for several weeks and is reportedly negotiating with police over a possible state witness deal.
Channel 2 News reported that the information from Yosef’s questioning, and the evidence that was collected since the probe was launched, are strengthening the case against Bitan.
The report maintained that further arrests will be made in light of Yosef’s testimony.
Bitan is expected to be questioned again on Thursday.
He remained silent in the last round of questioning, allegedly because he did not want to incriminate himself before a deal with Yosef is completed.
Bitan is suspected of accepting bribe money, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust.
Police suspect that he used his power as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion to benefit various businessmen, real-estate contractors and organized crime groups, in exchange for money.
He is also suspected of having laundered money he received and presenting the bribes as consultancy fees.
Channel 2 News also reported that another investigation has been launched against Bitan, in which he is alleged to have received a bribe from the Danya Cebus construction company.
The report said that the company bribed Bitan with NIS 300,000 in order to advance its interest in a construction project.
Danya Cebus responded by saying it will cooperate with any questioning by police.
Bitan’s attorney, Efraim Dimri, said on Tuesday: “MK Bitan is resting well. [Yosef’s questioning] is not bothering him. We don’t know if anyone will turn into a state’s witness, but even if that will be, it will not be major.”
Dimri added, “MK Bitan is not concerned about any state’s witness. He has pretty good answers [to police’s questions], and he will deal with them.”
Bitan is considered to have been a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as coalition chairman, a post he resigned from in December, after serving 19 months.