Police recommend indicting Ra'anana acting mayor

Investigators conclude probe into Uzi Cohen, say there is substantial evidence against the Likud activist for corruption.

uzi cohen 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
uzi cohen 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ra'anana's deputy mayor, who became a symbol of cronyism thanks to a burning satire by the popular television show Eretz Nehederet, may now face real heat for his political wheeling and dealing after the Israel Police recommended Sunday that Uzi Cohen be indicted on corruption-based charges. The elite National Fraud Squad announced Sunday afternoon that it had concluded an over three-year-long probe into the acting Ra'anana mayor. The investigation was initiated in December 2004 after police received a complaint from one of Cohen's political rivals. Investigators said this week that they had concluded the probe into Cohen and that they believe that there was substantial evidence against the Likud activist to charge him with fraud and violation of the public confidence in three different cases that had been examined as part of the investigation. Police found evidence pointing to what they described as "exceptions in building his private house, employing the Ra'anana's gardening contractor in his private house and illegally providing a business license to the event venue "Green Skies." Among the allegations against the acting mayor and Likud central committee member is the suspicion that he built additions on his house without permits - an offense punishable by municipal demolition of the illegal add-ons. Cohen was questioned by detectives in June of last year, and in November 2006, police raided his Ra'anana offices. With the conclusion of the investigation, the police passed the case file on to the Central District Attorney's office for review, together with their recommendation that Cohen be indicted. Cohen, already famous as a central committee member, vaulted to popularity in 2005 when Eretz Nehederet ("It's a Wonderful Country") picked his image to represent a cronyistic political insider, who was constantly trying to curry favors and make deals with other characters. Sales of Uzi Cohen masks reached surprise highs during Purim of that year, as Israels laughed at his catchphrase "You're a cutie, you are."