Ex-Kiryat Shmona mayor indicted

The former mayor of Kiryat Shmona, Haim Barbivai, was indicted in Nazareth Magistrate's Court on two counts of bribery and fraud and breach of faith and other charges for allegedly arranging to repay election campaign debts by obtaining contributions above the legal maximum. Barbivai won the election in 2003 after being forced to participate in a second round of voting after failing to win 40 percent of the vote in the first round. According to the charges, Barbivai owed a large sum of money to a printing company which produced campaign paraphernalia for the Likud. He secretly obtained money from two local businessmen, arranged to have them pay it directly to the printing company and to be given false receipts saying payment had been made for fictitious work. Barbivai crossed over to Kadima and was slated to run on the party's Knesset list, but dropped out because of the investigation against him.