State charges former consul in Moscow of taking bribe

Michael Dror accused of accepting $20,000 and other gifts for approving hundreds of fake Israeli visa applications.

money 224 ap (photo credit: AP)
money 224 ap
(photo credit: AP)
The Central District Attorney's Office on Monday indicted former Israeli consul to Moscow Michael Dror on one count of accepting a bribe and two counts of fraud and breach of faith. The prosecution accused Dror in Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court of accepting payment of $20,000 and other gifts and benefits in return for approving hundreds of fake applications by Russian and other former Soviet Union citizens for visas to enter Israel. Dror worked for the Foreign Ministry in various jobs in different FSU countries between 1995 and 2002, including the last two years as consul in the Israeli embassy in Moscow. According to the indictment, he struck up a relationship with Giorgi Rianko who worked for a tourist company. Rianko used to come to see Dror several times a week at the embassy, where he asked him to approve visa applications from his clients. Dror allowed him to enter the building from the employees' entrance in violation of security regulations. In the last six months, Dror locked the door when he received Rianko. According to the charge sheet, Rianko gave Dror $400 twice each week during these private meetings. In return, Dror allegedly approved hundreds of visa requests based on false documents, without investigating them. According to the indictment, Dror also forged an embassy document purporting to serve as official proof to the Latvian government that his children had applied to cancel their Israeli citizenship. He did this so that his children could become Latvian citizens, and therefore, in the near future, citizens of the European Union. Latvia only agrees to grant citizenship if applicants give up their former citizenship.