Police urge bribery charges against Ramat Gan mayor

Tzvi Bar, a one-time high-ranking Israel Police commander, accused of bribery, money-laundering, aggravated fraud, and income tax violations.

The national police investigative unit, Lahav 433, announced Thursday that it has recommended that state prosecutors pursue a bribery indictment against Ramat Gan Mayor Tzvi Bar, following a long-term investigation into construction projects in the city.
Police said that the investigation into the “Garden Party” affair began nearly two-and-a-half years ago, following suspicions that Bar, a one-time high-ranking Israel Police commander, was involved in bribery, money-laundering, aggravated fraud, and income tax violations.
Police said Thursday that the evidence they have gathered includes enough solid evidence to prove that Tzvi Bar took bribes from a number of local businessmen in Ramat Gan in order to help advance their real estate projects in the city.
Ramat Gan City Hall issued a statement Thursday saying, “We must accept the police announcement even though it has no relevance, being that only the State Prosecutor’s Office can handle cases involving elected officials. We are convinced that after the prosecutors receive the investigative material from police, the case will be closed without an indictment.”
Police also said Thursday that the investigation was originallylaunched in December 2008 with searches of the homes and offices ofsuspects, in which a large number of documents were seized. As part ofthe investigation, police reportedly interviewed a slew of suspects andgathered information from Israel and abroad.
Bar was first elected mayor of Ramat Gan in 1989, and is currentlyserving his fifth term. He was last questioned by police from theNational Fraud Unit in 2008, under suspicion that he was involved in aprevious corruption case involving building projects in Ramat Gan.
This past February state prosecutors dropped a case against Bar, inwhich he was accused of taking bribes in order to advance the buildingof parking lots in Tel Aviv.
The case against Bar was dropped after the chief witness in the“parking-lots affair” – “parking-lot king” Reuven Gross – passed awayafter a long bout with illness.