The amended bribery indictment against David Appel / Part 2
The elections in the Likud Party
16. On February 8, 1999, the Likud Party held its primaries for the 15th Knesset elections. Ariel Sharon, who was at the time an MK, minister of national infrastructure overseeing the ILA and foreign minister, was running for the number one slot.
17. After the elections for the prime minister and the Knesset, Ariel Sharon was appointed acting chairman of the Likud Party. In late May and early June 1999, Accused #1 and Gilad Sharon worked together to form a parliamentary bloc consisting of the Likud and Shas with Accused #1 coordinating meetings between Ariel Sharon and Shas party leaders and Gilad Sharon assisting him on behalf of Ariel Sharon.
18. On September 2, 1999 the Likud Party had elections to choose a party chairman. Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert were contenders for the post of party chairman.
19. While the two above-mentioned election campaigns were underway, as was the case beforehand, Accused #1 was known as someone with considerable electoral influence and logistical power within the Likud Central Committee.
The Land Deal in the Lod Area
20. Over the years, Accused #2 acquired the rights to agricultural lands leased by the ILA to the members of moshavim located northwest of Lod as follows: a. in September 1995, Accused #2 acquired the rights of the members of Moshav Tzafaria to around 90 dunams of agricultural land for $2.25 million. b. In December 1995, it acquired the rights of members of Moshav Ahiezer to around 160 dunams of agricultural land for $3.6 million. c. In June 1997, Accused #2 completed the acquisition of the rights of members of Moshav Yagel to around 700 dunams of agricultural land for $9.1 million. This was after Accused #1 and Accused #2 discerned the economic potential in the said agricultural lands and out of a desire to annex them to the city of Lod and transform them into lands with an urban building designation. However, Accused #1 and Accused #2 were unable to convince the ILA to grant them permission to plan buildings on the lands acquired from the moshavim, and without that it would not be possible to change the land use designation and build on them.
21. Starting in June 1997, or sometime around then, Accused #2 had in its possession approximately 1,400 dunams of agricultural land in Moshav Ginaton, the rights to which it had acquired from members of the moshav, which is located northeast of the city of Lod, for a sum of $24.5 million or an equivalent amount.
22. Accused #1 and Accused #2 asked to change the land use designation from agricultural to for construction in order to build on the lands after they are annexed to the city of Lod.
23. The Ginaton deal was made without obtaining the approval of the ILA and without informing the ILA about it. Consequently, the ILA refused to approve it. Given that, the attempts to build on the Ginaton lands could not continue.
24. After Accused #1 realized the ILA was intent on not approving the Ginaton deal, he worked together with his partner at Accused #2, attorney Dror Hoter-Yishai, directly and indirectly, on various ILA officials, at different times in order to convince them to change their minds. At the same time, Accused #1 began working on Ariel Sharon, who at the time was minister of national infrastructure and the minister responsible for the ILA in an effort to change the ILA’s position.
25. In October 1998, Accused #1 met with Attorney Avi Drexler, who at the time was the director of the ILA, at the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel. Accused #1 tried to persuade Drexler to lift the ILA’s opposition. Drexler refused. In response, Accused #1 said he would get Drexler dismissed within a month and that he would get Gilad Sharon to intervene in the matter.
26. In April 1999, or sometime around then, Accused #1 approached Gilad Sharon and asked him to verify the accuracy of information that had reached him, whereby Drexler was going to make an appointment at the ILA that was to the displeasure of Accused #1. Gilad Sharon did what he was asked an, got back to Accused #1 and informed him that the information was apparently correct.
Accused #1 expressed to Gilad his desire to prevent the appointment and his dissatisfaction with Drexler’s opposition to permit the unfreezing of agricultural lands in the center of the country, which could severely affect Accused #1’s interests.
Later on, at another time, Accused #1 contacted Gilad Sharon and told him of his displeasure with Drexler’s actions as ILA director and how he did not serve the interests of Accused #1.
2. The Facts
On the dates and in the ways specified below, Accused #1 gave Ariel Sharon bribes for actions connected to his fulfillment of his public positions.
Promises of Political Support for Sharon
1. On various dates, in proximity to the primaries on February 2, 1999, Accused #1 promised Ariel Sharon his support in those elections and that he would advocate for his candidacy. Among other things, on January 18, 1999, in a phone conversation, Accused #1 informed Ariel Sharon that he and his colleagues would support him in the primaries and neutralize whoever tried to harm his chances. Accused #1 also told Sharon that he would set up an office for him with a staff of 30 to 40 people.
2. At various times prior to the elections for Likud party chairman on September 2, 1999, Accused #1 promised Sharon, directly and via Gilad, that he would support him in those elections and advocate his candidacy.
3. Accused #1 promised his support and assistance to Ariel Sharon in two election campaigns within the Likud Party in the aim of attaining Sharon’s efforts, in his public positions, among other things, on behalf of the business dealings of Accused #1 and Accused #2 in the Lod area; and on behalf, as mentioned above, of his efforts to promote the Island Project and for favored treatment in general.
4. In late 1998, or around that time, Accused #1 suggested to Gilad that he get join the project in a capacity that was not defined in advance.
5. Accused #1 offered Gilad the following payments: a. A monthly payment of $10,000. b. $1.5 million with no conditions to be received once the permits for the project were obtained (a stage that Accused #1 expected to occur in September 1999), with the monthly sums paid until then to deducted (hereafter: bonus A). c. $1.5 million with no conditions, to be received once the project commenced operations, with the monthly sums paid until then deducted (hereafter: bonus B).
Gilad verbally agreed to Accused #1’s offer.
Accused #1 and Gilad reached an agreement, even though Accused #1 knew that Gilad had no relevant professional skills and the point of paying the sums to Ariel Sharon’s son was to get Sharon, in his public positions, to promote Accused #1 and Accused #2’s land deals in the Lod area; for his intervention, as mentioned above, in promoting the Island Project and for favorable treatment in general.
6. Accused #1 told Ariel Sharon that Gilad was likely to earn a lot of money.
7. In October 1999, or around that time, when all efforts to purchase the island of Patroklos failed, Gilad stopped providing any services to the project.