Holyland investigation nearing close

Prosecution will decide on indictments within 4 months.

Holyland apartments 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
Holyland apartments 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
The police have almost finished investigating the Holyland Affair and the state prosecution is due to decide in principle whether to indict any of the suspects within four months, the assistant to the attorney-general revealed on Wednesday.
The disclosure came in a letter to Ruth Yosef, chairwoman of the Jerusalem District Council for Planning and Building. In the letter, attorney Sarit Dana told Yosef that the Justice Ministry would not prevent developers who have already started to build on the site from completing the construction.
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However, she added that until the investigation was completed, she was asking attorney Yossi Habilio, the Jerusalem municipal legal adviser, to inform the State Attorney’s Office of any new requests for building permits on the vacant sites.
According to Dana, the Holyland complex consists of 17 separate building sites. Currently, eight buildings have been constructed, including one skyscraper of more than 30 stories. The rest of the sites are empty.
Dana called on Yosef to study the plans for those projects that had already been approved but not yet built, with an eye to “the question of the appropriate planning for these sites.”
This included one site where infrastructure work had already begun, she wrote.
The Holyland Affair exploded onto the public scene at the beginning of April.
Police suspected that a number of developers paid millions of shekels in bribes to municipal officials and middlemen to approve changes in land use and increases in building rights in the area, which was once earmarked for hotels alone.
Among those suspected of receiving bribes were former prime minister and ex-Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert, former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski, former Jerusalem city engineer Uri Sheetrit, former deputy mayor Yehoshua Pollack and Olmert’s one-time close friend, attorney Uri Messer. Hillel Charney and Meir Rabin were among those suspected of giving or passing on bribes.
Several weeks after the affair became known, it disappeared from the headlines, while police continued their investigation.
Dana’s letter is the first official statement that the investigation is drawing to an end and that the state prosecution will soon decide whether to indict any of the suspects. Dana emphasized, however, that before making a final decision, the prosecution would grant a hearing to those it is considering chargi