Photo Credit: Ben Kelmer / Flash90
Former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupoliansky seen in the District Court in Tel Avi, where former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is on trial on charges of accepting bribes linked to the Holyland Park residential project in Jerusalem.

A second former Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, has also been convicted by a Tel Aviv District Court of corruption in the years-long Holyland case.

Lupolianski was found guilty of receiving bribes in exchange for allowing construction of the Holyland Park luxury residential complex near Jerusalem’s Malha Mall.

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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was  also convicted earlier in the day. Olmert, who at the time was mayor of Jerusalem and subsequently Minister of Trade and Labor, was convicted of receiving bribes from the contractors for the project.

Justice David Rosen ruled that Lupolianski was aware of sizeable donations to the Yad Sarah charity organization. “He had chosen to act against moral standards,” Rosen commented.

According to police suspicions, between 1999 and 2008, the Holyland development company and associated land development projects, then owned by businessman Hillel Charni, paid tens of millions of shekels in bribes through intermediaries to senior public decision makers in the Jerusalem Municipality.

“The broad canvas painted by the state’s witness revealed corrupt systems of government that had rotted over the years,” Rosen wrote in his decision. “Hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected and public officials. “The state’s witness didn’t transfer the money out of the goodness of his heart, but rather with the intention that Olmert would help promote projects.”

The state’s witness Shmuel Dachner, who is now deceased, was also convicted in the case, as was his aide, Meir Rabin, former Deputy Mayor Eliezer Simhayoff, former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, former aide to Ehud Olmert, Shuli Zaken, and others.

Of the 12 defendants in the case, nine were convicted, and three acquitted.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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