Four Israel Land Authority workers arrested on bribery charges

In a bribery scandal believed to have cost taxpayers millions of shekels, four Israel Land Authority workers were arrested Monday on suspicion of accepting bribes and sexual favors in exchange for reducing payments owed to their office. 27 additional suspects were detained by police on suspicion of offering and soliciting bribes, and police said further arrests were expected. Detectives also raided the Land Authority's Tel Aviv offices, where they seized documents and other materials. According to police, their investigation has already revealed a case of widespread corruption in the public sector in which "suspects used their seniority within the authority to satisfy their greed." The investigation began a year ago after detectives received information that the suspects had been receiving money and other favors in exchange for tampering with and falsifying ILA documents and records. As a result, people paying the bribes were given exemptions from payments amounting to considerable sums. The sexual favors were said to have often been provided at the ILA office itself.