Police Lahav 433 special investigations unit and the Israel Securities Authority on Sunday announced that they would recommend that Shari Arison, former owner of the Shikun & Binui construction company and some 20 company senior officials on charges of bribery. The case will be transferred to the State Attorney’s Office for tax and economic crimes until a decision is reached whether to indict.
Shari Arison is an American-born Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, considered to be Israel’s wealthiest woman. She is the owner of Arison Investments, which comprises several business companies, and of The Ted Arison Family Foundation, which runs several philanthropic subsidiaries.
Police also investigated the suspicions that Arison sold Shikun & Binui to Businessman Nati Sayidoff for 1.1 billion shekel ($305 million) last August after it had become clear that an investigation was underway.
The alleged offenses under investigation involved bribery of a foreign public servant (which Israel only started to prosecute two years ago), false registration of corporate documents, conspiracy to commit a crime, obstruction of legal proceedings, money laundering, and filing intentionally misleading reports.
The affair concerns the transfer of bribes to foreign public officials in African countries, particularly in Kenya, by Shikun & Binui and its subsidiaries, including AG SBI International, a Swiss company wholly owned by Shikun & Binui.
The main suspicions relate to the period between 2008 and 2016, during which Shikun & Binui organized bribery payments to foreign public employees in Africa in order to increase the company’s profits.
The investigation included hundreds of probes in Israel and abroad, about 50 suspects have been interrogated and two judicial investigations were carried out in cooperation with Kenya’s anti-corruption unit, where nineteen Kenyan public servants were questioned on suspicion of involvement in the affair.