Lottery to Examine Business Ties of Top Court Candidate

The board of the state lottery Mifal Hapayis will discuss the business ties between its legal adviser and the lottery's former chief executive, whom the police are investigating amid suspicions of bribery.

The adviser, Prof. Ron Shapira, is one of Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann's candidates for the Supreme Court. Shapira did not mention his ties with former lottery CEO Yaakov Bardugo at the previous board meeting.

Shapira also did not inform the Judicial Appointments Committee that he was a partner in a company with Bardugo, one of the chief suspects in a case of alleged bribery at the lottery.

Shapira argued that he believed he did not have to report to the lottery board about his previous ties with Bardugo, sources at Mifal Hapayis said.

When informed by Haaretz about the details of the partnership, he asked the paper not to publish them. Before that he had denied the partnership.

The director of the Courts Administration, Justice Moshe Gal, has said he believes Shapira did not have to report his business ties with Bardugo on the application form for a judicial post. He said it is not obligatory to report "holding shares in a company one is not active in ... in the application ... especially if the company is not active."

"The candidate is not obliged to detail his business history in the application form," he said.

Haaretz reported last Tuesday that Shapira, Bardugo and another man each own one-third of the company Glilot Hahadasha, founded in 2005. At that time Bardugo was a suspect in another case, involving alleged wrongdoing at a municipal economic corporation. The Justice Ministry says this case was closed four months ago because of a lack of evidence.

Glilot Hahadasha was founded as part of a contract Shapira and Bardugo signed with Yusuf Sufi, of Tamra, who is embroiled in a legal dispute with the government over land near Be'er Sheva that was expropriated from him.

Sufi said that in 2005, Bardugo, Shapira and a third man came to him and offered to take the case, and he agreed that they could buy 50 percent of the land for $2 million if they got it back from the government for him within two years. There were several subsequent meetings, he said, in which Shapira and Bardugo "presented themselves as partners." The two years, however, ended a few months ago, and today another lawyer is handling the case.

A senior aide to the justice minister, attorney Guy Rotkopf, agrees with Gal that Shapira was not obliged to report about the company in the form he had filled out.

Judge candidates are required to fill out an application demanding details of all business dealings by them or on their behalf.

Shapira also left blank the clause entitled "relevant personal relations: list names of people you were/are in touch with (for the past 10-15 years) in military, academic, public activity and work contexts."

A spokeswoman for the Courts Administration, Ayelet Filo, said candidates are required "to fill out all relevant sections."

JAC coordinator Yafa Mor said candidates who own a company should mention it in the form.