Police Recommend Indicting Head of Israel Land Authority

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Bentzi Lieberman, head of Israel Lands Admnistration, in June 2014.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

The police recommended Thursday that the State Prosecutor Office indict Israel Lands Administration head Bentzi Lieberman for breach of trust. They have also recommended that Lieberman’s associate, former MK Nahum Langenthal, today an executive at the Kardan construction company, be indicted for the same crime.

The two are suspected of acting to advance the interests of Kardan, where Lieberman served as an external adviser before being appointed ILA head in September, 2011.

Before his ILA appointment, Lieberman signed a conflict of interest agreement not to deal with issues connected to Kardan, and specifically issues involving a project the company was building in Lod. Lieberman allegedly acted to facilitate Kardan’s real estate projects, including the Lod project, in violation of this agreement. He also allegedly acted to advance other deals involving a conflict of interest without disclosing the conflict beforehand, as required by law.

Langenthal allegedly exploited his political connections to promote corporate and personal issues, and used his close ties with Lieberman to turn a profit in the Kardan deal, police say. He is also suspected of representing other companies in their dealings with the ILA, using his ties with Lieberman for personal gains.

Lieberman and Langenthal were detained for questioning in January on suspicion that they committed fraud and acted in breach of trust, following a police raid on ILA offices in Jerusalem and Langenthal’s house in Givat Shmuel.

In recent weeks the police fraud and anti-corruption unit took testimony from dozens of people and seized numerous documents. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has been involved in the investigation from the beginning.

Langenthal’s attorneys said in a statement that their client had acted “irreproachably” both in the public positions he held and his private affairs, and expressed hope that the prosecution will come to the conclusion that this was the case in the case in question.

Lieberman’s attorneys said the probe had begun with allegations of corruption and graft, but now turn out not to involve bribery. “The police claim Lieberman acted out of conflict of interest because certain companies that approached him were represented by his associate. We will refute this argument completely at a hearing with the prosecution, which we ask will be held as soon as possible,” their statement read.

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