Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso Acquitted of Fraud Charges

Haifa District Court accepts defense argument that the incidents on the charge sheet occurred before Gapso became candidate for mayor.

Former Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso, center, after his release from prison, October 18, 2016.
Gil Eliahu

Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso was acquitted of fraud charges in the Haifa District Court on Monday.

In acquitting the mayor, Judge Dianna Sela ruled that she accepted Gapso's defense that the incidents on the charge sheet had occurred before he became a candidate for mayor.

"Despite inconsistencies in his testimony, I accept the version of the defense," Sela said.

"I congratulate the court on its decision to acquit me," Gapso said after the verdict. "I am a law-abiding person and have worked legitimately my entire life for the good of Upper Nazareth."

"I hope to resume working in my rightful place soon," added Gapso, who took leave of absence from the mayoral office for the duration of the trial.

"The court ruled that promises had been made to activists but that they weren't criminal in the circumstances," the prosecutor said. "We need to learn the judgement."

Gapso was accused of promising municipal positions and money to two political activists before the municipal elections in 2008.

He was sentenced to six months community service, a fine and suspended imprisonment in April 2015 on different corruption charges.