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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘bribes’

Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski Convicted in Holyland Case

Monday, March 31st, 2014

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.

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.

Former PM Ehud Olmert Found ‘Guilty’ in Holyland Trial

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty in the Holyland trial that dealt with corruption in the building of the massive luxury residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen announced the verdict Monday morning, handing down a verdict of “guilty” on charges of receiving bribes to allow contractors to proceed in construction of Holyland Park.

Olmert allegedly took the bribes from Holyland’s developers and the company Hazera Genetics during his time as Jerusalem mayor and minister of industry, trade and labor.

Of 12 defendants in the years-long trials, only three have been acquitted in the case.

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.

Rosen slammed what he called “a corrupt political system which has decayed over years… and in which hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected officials.”

Expect Hell’s Fury as Scorned Aide Turns State Witness Against Olmert

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Shula Zaken’s career and her entire life have been intertwined with the life and career of top-level attorney, Likud “prince” (meaning his family belonged to the original, Jabotinsky-inspired Revisionist movement), Jerusalem mayor, government minister and finally prime minister Ebhud Olmert. Zaken was Olmert’s gatekeeper, and as such was directly involved in the complex and quite unappealing corruption quagmire her boss has been fighting in several court rooms over the past seven years.

This week, it appears that Zaken has agreed to become a state witness against her former boss, in exchange for reducing her sentence to one year in jail.

Until that crucial turn of events, the former prime minister had not escaped the long list of charges against him unscathed, he sustained an injury, in the form of a single conviction in one out of three separate cases, on breach of trust, for which he received one year’s probation and a $20 thousand fine. The last remaining case, regarding his role in the Holyland construction project—he was accused of accepting millions in bribes, while serving as Jerusalem’s mayor—was expected to be another squeaker for him. The prosecution’s key witness did not perform well at all, hard evidence was not offered, a walk in the park for Olmert.

Olmert might still beat this one, but a walk in the park it won’t be.

On Tuesday, Zaken went public on her Facebook page: “It’s no secret that in the last few days my heart’s been broken and what little joy I still had has also been almost extinguished. Until you came, dear people, family members, friends and just people – with blessings and support that I felt came from the heart. And those strengthened my faith, resurrected my joy of life, and this way I wish to thank you and bless each and every one of you that the Holy One Blessed Be His name fulfill all your wishes to a good end with health, happiness, pleasure, a good livelihood and, most important, joy in your hearts and a permanent smile on your faces.”

Convicted embezzlers who find God usually go a little overboard—I’m particularly leery of the permanent smile thing. I’m sure the prosecutors, should they accept her plea deal, will advise against it while on the stand. Could be off putting to the judges.

A week ago, Zaken reportedly told friends that she was feeling humiliated and was considering sharing with the authorities some of the vast information in her possession.

“If I open my mouth, forget it, Olmert will be sitting in jail,” she said to her friends. “I never said that he was corrupt, until he came up and said I was corrupt. I will talk about everything I have, amybe a few things that aren’t known yet.”

“After all,” Zaken emphasized, “I never did anything without instructions from him. Unlike him, I kept the covenant and the friendship until the very last minute.”

A few weeks ago, on a Friday, Zaken and Olmert happened into the same social event, and she told him, for all the world to hear: “You sold me out!”

Then, as a crowd was gathering, she shot: “You say I’m corrupt? I say that everything I did – I learned from you.”

Since, at one point, Olmert’s attorney Roy Blecher, accused Zaken of lying, it was becoming clear that the former PM was going to use Zaken as his fall guy—for everything. Zaken is now reacting like the proverbial woman scorned, complete with hell fury and the works.

“I lay down on the fence for him,” she said tearfully to her friends, citing the IDF combat method of going over a barbed wire fence – one guy throws himself on it and the rest step on his body. “I kept silent during the interrogations, I accepted responsibility, but there’s a limit to everything.”

Russian Human Rights Council to Review Jewish Teacher’s Graft Sentence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Kremlin’s human rights council is reviewing a prison sentence meted out to Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher convicted of corruption.

The regional court of Ostashkov, north of Moscow, sentenced Farber last week to seven years in jail after convicting him of receiving $13,000 in bribes from a construction company. The company was seeking permission to renovate a culture club in a village where Farber settled in 2010 and began teaching art to children.

Many in Russia believe Farber did not receive a fair trial, partly because of his Jewish origins, according to Matvey Chlenov, the deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress. Several people have testified that they heard the prosecutor in Farber’s first trial telling the jury: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” – a statement interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

The Russian Jewish Congress has collected $30,000 in donations to help support Farber’s three young sons as he prepares to appeal the sentence, Chlenov said.

Alexander Brod, head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, told the news site Utro.ru that he initiated a review of the case because he found the sentence to be “too harsh.”

Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted. But a higher court scrapped the first conviction because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant.” The conviction last week came in a retrial.

Farber was convicted of taking two bribes of $9,100 and $4,000 from the construction company Gosstroi-1 in exchange for permission to renovate a village club. Prosecutors said he signed off on the completed renovations when in fact none had been made.

Farber was a director at the club.

Chlenov said, “It is obvious Farber acted naively and some locals set him up and dropped their corruption on him.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russian-human-rights-council-to-review-jewish-teachers-graft-sentence/2013/08/09/

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