The mayor of Rehovot was questioned Tuesday under caution by police on suspicion of obstructing justice, fraud and breach of faith. Mayor Rahamim Malul is under investigation for his alleged connection to suspected acts of fraud by an attorney, Roi Bar, who served as outside legal counsel to the municipalities of Rishon Letzion and Rehovot.
The investigation moved into the open phase in February of this year, when Bar and a number of contractors were questioned and subsequently arrested. Among the contractors are Manor Gindi, owner of Gindi Investments and Uri Levy.
Bar is suspected of a conflict of interest in having received various benefits in exchange for using his authority in the realm of building and planning to grant excessive permits to promote the interests of the contractors and their close associates. Some of the building projects in question have been completed in Rishon Letzion and Rehovot, while others are still under construction.
Bar is also suspected of receiving money for the sale of apartments in the projects in exchange for promoting the interests. He was allegedly given apartments to sell and was to charge fees to handle contracts with the purchasers. In exchange, he allegedly gave advice to the municipalities employing him as legal counsel that influenced officials to make decisions favorable to the contractors in question.
Malul was summoned for questioning after police received information during the course of their investigation that not only had Malul known about the conflict of interests and allowed matters to advance between Bar and the contractors, but he also acted to obstruct justice after the probe entered its open phase. According to police, Malul also “acted to receive information regarding the investigation from individuals who had been questioned.”
The police believe that Malul was trying to find out how much the police knew about Bar’s association with the contractors and the extent of Bar’s part in the affair.