Danker, Efrati released to 10-day house arrest

"I believe in my innocence," says former Bank Hapoalim chairman suspected of bribery.

HOLYLAND 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police released former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner and former Israel Lands Administration head Yaakov Efrati to house arrest for 10 days on Sunday, following their arrest last week on bribery suspicions which surfaced during an investigation into the Holyland real estate bribery affair.
Dankner is suspected of paying NIS 1.5 million in bribes to Efrati in order to ensure that industrial land he owned in Atlit could be converted into profitable real estate developments. He has denied all suspicions against him.
“I can’t address the investigation. I fully believe in my innocence,” Dankner said during his remand hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Sunday.
Joseph Benkel, an attorney representing Dankner, said after the remandhearing that his client had “no connection” to the suspicions againsthim, adding that he “did not know” what new evidence had been uncoveredby police.
“This is a known story, and there is nothing new in it. Thesesuspicions have been examined by former Attorney-General MenahemMazuz,” Benkel said.
The state’s witness in the Holyland real estate bribery investigationdirected police to allegedly incriminating documents showing howproperty developer Meir Rabin allegedly mediated between Dankner andEfrati and passed on bribe money, resulting in their arrests last week.
Both men have been forbidden from leaving the country for 180 days, andhave been placed on restrictive measures regarding their communicationswith others.
Efrati, who chairman of Israel Railways, received special policepermission to contact Israel Railways’s company secretary, on conditionthat calls are coordinated with the National Fraud Unit.
A third senior Jerusalem Municipality councilman, former deputy mayorEli Simhayoff, was released to 10 days’ house arrest on Sunday by theRishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.
Simhayoff is suspected of “taking the initiative and demanding”hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribe money for himself, and afterallegedly receiving the cash, he “divided it between himself and othersin the municipality.”