Customs Officer Released Due to Lack of Evidence of Bribes

Haifa customs official Yossi Itzkovitch was released from custody yesterday, a week after he was arrested last week on suspicion of taking bribes in exchange for assistance in smuggling activities.

The Haifa Magistrates Court released Itzkovitch with limitations after the police failed to prove that he was involved in other incidents of bribery.

A toy importer who was suspected of paying the bribe said the funds were a loan and was also released from custody.

Itzkovitch was arrested last Thursday in Haifa, and the police presented their suspicions to the Haifa Magistrate's Court that Itzkovitch received a bribe from the importer in exchange for help in smuggling containers from the Haifa port.

In the course of an undercover investigation, police detectives broke into one of the containers which belonged to the importer, but according to Itzkovitch, "the container was clean. If I was to receive a bribe, I would have had to have done something, but nothing was done. All of the shipments which were examined checked out clean." He denied all allegations against him.

The police said in response that their investigation in the case is continuing, but Itzkovitch was released because there is no concern that he would disrupt the investigation.