Another Ex-senior Israeli Police Official Under Suspicion in Fisher Graft Case

Maj. Gen. Bruno Stein resigned last year after Haaretz reported he had attended a private party thrown by attorney Ronel Fisher.

Ofer Vaknin

Another former senior police officer, Maj. Gen. Bruno Stein, is being investigated on suspicion of receiving bribes from attorney Ronel Fisher – part of the widening circle of senior law enforcement officials ensnared in the Fisher case.

Stein served as commander of the police’s Central District until resigning last September, following a Haaretz report that he had attended a private party thrown by Fisher. At that time, Fisher was already under criminal investigation.

The investigation against Stein stems from information given by former police superintendent Eran Malka, who agreed to turn state’s evidence. A gag order on the agreement with Malka was lifted on Monday. Stein was released to three days house arrest Tuesday morning, with the police saying the investigation will continue in the coming days.

Under the agreement, Malka will receive his full pension and severance pay, just as if he had retired from the police in normal fashion rather than being forced out by a criminal investigation. However, the deal provides for no leniency in his sentence.

Malka is being charged with bribe-taking, fraud, breach of trust and other offenses for having given Fisher information from sensitive investigations in exchange for payment. Fisher, a criminal defense attorney, would then sell the information to his clients, and the clients would use the information to obstruct investigations of which they were the targets.

The plea agreement is slated to be presented to the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday.

The Justice Ministry’s department for investigating police misconduct suspects that Fisher paid for Stein’s overseas travel, during which he apparently met with some of Fisher’s clients. For Fisher, the trips were an opportunity to show off his ties with the senior officer to potential clientsfrom whom he hoped to obtain bribes.

Among other things, Stein allegedly attended an overseas meeting between Fisher and contractor Yair Biton, owner of the construction firm B. Yair. Biton is suspected of paying bribes to Fisher in exchange for information about a police investigation against him.

After Haaretz reported on Stein’s presence at Fisher’s party last September, policed issued a statement defending him.

“Maj. Gen. Stein is not involved in the case of attorney Fisher, and his name hasn’t been linked to it in any way,” the statement said. “Maj. Gen. Stein has never hidden his friendship of many years’ standing with attorney Fisher, but there is absolutely no disciplinary problem with this acquaintance, just as there isn’t with the fact that he attended the party at [Fisher’s] home. Any attempt to interpret reality otherwise falsifies and distorts the truth.”

Several indictments have already been filed in the case, including against former Tel Aviv district attorney Ruth David.