Police Recommend Charging Former Ashdod Port Union Boss

Alon Hassan used strongarm tactics, committed criminal offenses and lost money for the state in the course of running the Ashdod port, say police.

Moti Milrod

The police recommended indicting Ashdod port union boss Alon Hassan Wednesday on charges of fraud, corporate breach of trust, threat-based extortion, , receiving assets obtained illegally and money laundering.

Police also recommended indicting former Ashdod Port CEO Shuki Sagis on charges of fraud and corporate breach of trust.

Police say that Hassan built a mechanism for controlling the port while breaking the law. Most of Hassan’s alleged offenses were committed by taking advantage of his connection to a company named Dana Port Services and Logistics as well as other private companies he owned. Hassan allegedly reaped large profits for himself and for his associates through these companies.

The file is expected to be passed on to the state prosecution within the next few days for a final decision on whether to indict Hassan and Sagis.

The police also called for indicting others allegedly involved in corruption at the port including Dana Port Services CEO and owner Yaniv Belter. Police believe Belter committed offenses of threat-based extortion, receiving assets obtained illegally, money laundering offenses, and impeding court proceedings. Police also called for indicting Dana VP-Operations David Hassan, Alon Hassan’s cousin.

Alon Hassan was arrested in May along with several other suspects, following a covert police investigation conducted in partnership with the Tax Authority and the anti-money laundering authority. . As part of the investigation, police conducted searches, interrogated dozens of people and confiscated assets worth more than 13 million shekels.

Hassan was later suspended from his post as Ashdod port union chairman and barred from entering the port premises.

The police stated yesterday that their investigation uncovered improper norms at the port that spanned the gamut from improper management to outright criminal offenses.

Dana Port Services supplies Ashdod Port with operating and logistics services as well as environmental oversight. The investigation found that port customers – including Israel Chemicals, Shemen and Nesher Cement - were allegedly forced to hire Dana for these services by means of pressure and false representation, including extortion through threats, by Dana’s executives. Alon Hassan was allegedly involved in this process and took advantage of his influence at the port to pressure companies to work with Dana, indicating to them that they would not receive service from the port otherwise, say police.

This process took place even though customers’ contracts with Dana significantly impaired the profits of the state-owned Ashdod port company, say police. Port executives – including Sagis - were aware of what was going on but chose to ignore it, allege police.

Dana also received preferable terms in its contracts to rent space at the port.

Last week, a key witness against Hassan was targeted in an alleged assassination attempt in Kfar Sava.