Kobi Kahlon, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and the brother of Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon, is the subject of a fraud and breach-of-trust investigation, but Kobi Kahlon says the probe against him has de facto been closed, Channel 2 news reported Thursday night.
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Moshe Kahlon, whose new centrist party is running in the March 17 election, is famous for increasing competition in the cellphone industry when he was communications minister.
According to Channel 2, the allegations against Kobi Kahlon involved the awarding of building permits to a restaurant in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem neighborhood while Kahlon was chairman of the municipality’s planning and building committee.
Kahlon said the police told him two years ago that the state prosecutor had decided to close the case against him, but the official closure was delayed because of the investigation into other suspects.
The police investigated the building permits after an official at the Israel Land Authority said his signature on the permits had been forged. Kahlon was summoned by the police to testify and was later questioned as a suspect because he had signed the permits.
He told Haaretz on Thursday that, back when he was still a suspect, a contractor phoned him while he was on the way to the police to be questioned. The contractor told him an investigation had been opened against him.
He said the contractor told him that Kahlon could pay an attorney 50,000 shekels ($12,700) to have the investigation called off. Kahlon said he refused the offer and told Mayor Nir Barkat about it. Barkat notified the head of the Jerusalem police.
According to Kahlon, he told the police officer who questioned him about the offer — he also told the officer that details of the investigation against him had been leaked. But the officer did not pass this information on and is now being investigated by the Justice Ministry’s department that investigates the police, Kahlon said.
“Apparently the officer I reported to is the criminal,” he added. “I testified against him to the Police Investigation Department.”