New real estate scandal in Jerusalem?

Police refuse to say whether new bribery investigation opened.

construction 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
construction 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police refused on Tuesday to address a Ynet report saying that a new bribery investigation had been opened into the Jerusalem Municipality based on a fresh real estate bribery affair.
The report said a raid on the municipality building was imminent, but the raid failed to materialize.
According to the suspicions, in the 1990s, funds were illicitly transferred to elected officials from representatives of the Pri Har real estate company, in exchange for approval for a housing project in Emek Tzvaim, currently a nature reserve situated near the Holyland development in southern Jerusalem.
Plans to go ahead with the construction at Emek Tzvaim were canceled in 2008 due to protests from local residents and conservationist groups.
A police source told The Jerusalem Post that contrary to the report, the issue was not new. He stressed that the media would not be notified of any raid before it took place.
“Despite the report, I didn’t see the raid happen,” the source said.
On Tuesday, cameramen gathered outside the municipality, before eventually dispersing.
Two months ago, attorneys for key Holyland suspect Meir Rabin, suspected of acting as a bribery intermediary, said he was questioned about the Emek Tzvaim development.
The Jerusalem Municipality said in a statement that the construction plans were canceled in 2008, adding that that Mayor Nir Barkat worked to safeguard the Emek Tzvaim site and prevent any construction on it even before he was elected.
Six months ago, a District Planning and Construction Committee approved a plan to set up an urban park on the site.