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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

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.”

Erdogan Blames Foreigners for Engineering Corruption Probe

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sounding more and more like Syrian President Bassar al-Assad, has blamed foreigners for supposedly engineering the corruption probe that has rocked his government.

He appealed directly to the people with a populist cry to support him against some foreign enemy attacking “the bread on your table, the money in your pocket, the sweat of your brow.”

“History will not forgive those who have become mixed up in this game,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in which he focused on the investigation of the police and judiciary and which he charged is part of a plot by foreigners to undermine his regime and diminish Turkey’s power in the Middle East.

After police raided homes and offices and questioned businessmen and the sons of three minsters, Erdogan got rid of 70 people involved in the probe and blocked another probe into large projects he has backed.

The “enemy” allegedly behind the probe is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is based in the United States and who is a former ally of Erdogan.

“Circles uncomfortable with Turkey’s successes, its growing economy, its active foreign policy, its global-scale projects, implemented a new trap set against Turkey,” Erdogan said in his address on television.

He also said that last June’s anti-government protests were part of a conspiracy that was “dressed up in the cover of trees, parks and the environment.

While the US Is Aiding Abbas, the EU Says He’s Crooked

Monday, October 14th, 2013

A London newspaper report of a  European Union audit citing gross corruption in the Palestinian Authority is the latest, but not the last, exposure of a PA regime that is a decaying creature living on borrowed time.

In August, the United States signed a $148 million agreement with the Palestinian Authority to support the budget in Ramallah.

U.S. Consul General Michael Ratney stressed how much the Obama administration supports Abbas government in order to strengthen its institutions, all part of the master plan to show that the Palestinian Authority functions as a state. All it needs, according to the U.S. State Dept., is the stamp of approval that it is a country.

The very idea of creating a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders is a dream for President Barack Obama, so he had no trouble in August to waive restrictions set by Congress to send more tax dollars to Ramallah,  part of a prize for resuming the so-called peace talks that are rapidly on their way to joining previous discussions in the grave from which they were exhumed in July.

Shortly after the U.S. aid, France and the Palestinian Authority signed a $15 million agreement to bail out Abbas’ depleted coffers, which have a bottom line of approximately minus $500 million.

Hamdallah then met EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, one of Israel’s biggest thorns in the you know where, to ask for more money.

When it comes to schooring, Abbas has it all over the Jews.

As usual, the PA says it needs money because Israel is choking it as well as Gaza with the famous siege that does not exist., except for that which the Egyptian military regime has imposed. But  that does not count since it is not part of the Zionist lobby.

Make no mistake about it, says Abbas. “Israel exploits our resources and lands which directly leads to an increase in the deficit which we must contend with,” and “the central reason for this is the Israeli occupation.”

That is the magic code word for Abbas to get whatever he wants. If there is not enough rain, it is because of the occupation. If it is Tuesday and not Wednesday, it is because of the occupation.

Now it is October. It’s salary time again, and guess what? Palestinian Authority  Finance Minister Shukri Bishara told Abbas it has no money to pay its workers, who officially comprise nearly 8 percent of the total population in Judea and Samaria, but in fact the number is far larger.

It has been reported year after that the Palestinian Authority is a welfare state and that it cannot exist on its own.

Anyone who simply travels through Judea and Samaria can see for himself huge villas and thousands of luxury cars. What people don’t see, or don’t want to see, is that many of those homes and cars were paid for by the billions of dollars a year that are controlled by officials who make Congressmen’s pork barrel look like small potatoes.

The Times of London revealed Sunday that a European Union audit shows that corruption and mismanagement managed to waste about $2 billion, which is three or four times the annual deficit and also is nearly equal to the total amount of money the EU has given to the Palestinian Authority in the four-year period ending last year.

This is no news to Palestinian Authority Arabs. The EU auditors could have saved themselves a lot of work and trouble if they simply had asked the local Arabs, just like pollsters did last year, when they discovered that an overwhelming 71 percent of Arabs believe that there is corruption in their government.

In order to boost the confidence of Abbas to remain corrupt, Uncle Sam will pay out approximately $440 million to Ramallah this years, which is less than the $513.4 million doled out last year but still $440 million more than zero, not including support for UNRWA.

Aid to Israel is in the billions, but a large part of it is funneled right back into the United States for purchases of Made in USA defense components.

In the case of the Palestinian Authority, the only money that goes back into the coffers of the United States is that which Abbas forks over in restaurants when schnooring in Washington.

Mubarak to be Freed from Jail This Week, Says His Lawyer

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Hosni Mubarak, overthrown two years ago in the Arab Spring rebellion and jailed on charges of murder and corruption, will be freed from jail this week after being cleared of a charge of corruption, his lawyer Fareed el Deeb announced Monday, but murder charges still await him.

He added that one other charge of corruption remains open and that the case will be concluded later this week. “All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week,” Deeb said.

Mubarak’s two sons remain in jail, and the former dictator’s trial on charges of involvement in murder of protesters in 2011 is to resume next week.

 

 

Conflict of Interest Brewing for Lapid and Beer Company

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Yesh Atid and party chairman Yair Lapid are facing their first charges of unethical conduct following the revelation that one of Lipid’s advisers is a part-owner of a beer company that is due tor receive aid from the Finance Ministry that Lapid heads.

Hillel Kobrinsky is an adviser to Lapid and holds a 4 percent stake in Abeer Habar, the owner of Alexander Beer that is in line to receive government compensation for the recent tax hike on alcoholic beverages, the Israeli Globes business newspaper revealed.

A petition for disclosure of agreements singed by Kobrinsky has been filed by Globes under the Freedom of Information Law.

Lapid’s media advisor Nilly Richman countered that Kobrinsky and Yoram Bauman, who managed the Yesh Atid election campaign and also is an investor in the beer company, are suing Globes.

Kobrinsky and Bauman, through their lawyer, today sent a warning to “Globes,” in which they claim that the article implied that they were behind the measure that led to the decision to help microbreweries by exploiting their ties with the finance minister and for personal gain.

However, the Movement for Quality Government charged that the report raises “concern of flawed ethical conduct and raises suspicion of inappropriate and improper conduct…about the closeness of some of the owners of the dominant breweries involved in the process to the finance minister himself and to his party, especially when this has not been disclosed.”

Rabbi Stav: Get ‘Corrupt Politicians’ Out of the Rabbinate

Friday, June 28th, 2013

National religious Rabbi David Stav has based his campaign to become Israel’s next Ashkenazi chief rabbi on a message of inclusion, friendliness and tolerance. But in an exclusive interview with JTA, he had harsh words for those who have attacked him in recent weeks.

The attacks began two Saturday nights ago, when Rabbi Ovadia Yosef used his weekly speech to call Stav “evil.” Rabbi Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi spiritual and legal authority, said that Rabbi Stav, who has painted himself as a reformer,  is “dangerous to Judaism, dangerous to the rabbinate and dangerous to Torah.”

One day later, some Haredi Orthodox youth took the rabbi’s words to heart and literally pushed Rabbi Stav around as he danced at a wedding.

And then last Thursday, the man whom Stav hopes to replace, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, was questioned for fraud and money laundering and placed under house arrest for five days, preventing him from being in communication with other suspects and from leaving the country.

No indictments have been charged, but in Israel, public figures, especially those who are right wing or religious, are considered guilty until proven innocent.

Rabbi Stav wouldn’t comment directly on Metzger’s arrest, but said earlier in the interview that Israel “needs a rabbinate not ruled by corrupt politicians but by God-fearing people. The people of Israel want a Judaism that speaks not in threats and curses but in a pleasant language and ways of peace.”

He insisted that he only wants to make the rabbinate more user-friendly, not to change Jewish law. He’s against instituting civil marriage in Israel and won’t recognize non-Orthodox conversions. But the Haredi orthodox leadership in Israel doesn’t seem to believe him.

Rabbi Stav told JTA that if elected, he wants to strengthen the chief rabbinate’s relationships with Jewish communities outside Israel. One of his goals would be to push for a unified international standard of kashrut.

“The Israeli rabbinate is not just the top institution in the Jewish state but is also a formal authority for Jewish people worldwide,” he said. “We want a permanent dialogue with the different organizations and rabbinates in the United States and different places in the world.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/rabbi-stav-get-corrupt-politicians-out-of-the-rabbinate/2013/06/28/

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