'Enough evidence to indict Ramat Gan Mayor for bribery'

Police recommend National Fraud unit charge Tzvi Bar after long-term probe.

The “Lahav” national fraud investigative unit of the Israel Police announced Thursday that they have recommended that state prosecutors pursue a bribery indictment against Ramat Gan Mayor Tzvi Bar, following a long-term investigation into construction projects in the city.
Police said that the investigation into the “Garden Party” affair began nearly two and a half years ago, following suspicions that Bar, a one-time high-ranking Israel Police commander, was involved in bribery, money-laundering, aggravated fraud, and income tax violations. Police said Thursday that the evidence they have gathered includes enough solid evidence to prove that Tzvi Bar took bribes from a number of local businessmen in Ramat Gan in order to help advance their real estate projects in the city.
Police said Thursday that the investigation was originally launched in December 2008 with searches of the homes and offices of suspects, in which a large number of documents were seized. As part of the investigation, police reportedly interviewed a slew of suspects and gathered information from Israel and abroad.
Ramat Gan City Hall issued a statement Thursday saying “we must acceptthe police announcement even though it has no relevance being that onlythe state prosecutor’s office can handle cases involving electedofficials. We are convinced that after the prosecutors receive theinvestigative material from police the case will be closed without anindictment.”
Bar was first elected mayor of Ramat Gan in 1989, and is currentlyserving his fifth term. He was last questioned by police from theNational Fraud Investigative Unit in 2008, under suspicion that he wasinvolved in a previous corruption case involving building projects inRamat Gan.
This past February state prosecutors dropped a case against Bar, inwhich he was accused of taking bribes in order to advance the buildingof parking lots in Tel Aviv.
The case against Bar was dropped after the chief witness in the“parking lots affair," so-called “parking lot king” Ruben Gross passedaway after a long bout with illness.