Israeli Prosecutors to Shut Cases Against Safed, Kiryat Shmona Mayors

Safed mayor Ilan Shohat was suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, while Kiryat Shmona mayor Nissim Malka was suspected of bribery and obstruction of an investigation

Safed mayor Ilan Shohat in March 2015
Gil Eliahu

The State Prosecution has announced that it was closing suspected corruption cases against Safed mayor Ilan Shohat and Kiryat Shmona mayor Nissim Malka.

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Shohat was suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, while Malka was suspected of bribery and obstruction of an investigation. The charges have been erased due to lack of evidence and a presumed absence of guilt.

Kiryat Shmona mayor Nissim Malka in 2011
דרור ארצי

Shohat was suspected of receiving discounts from a contractor who was building his home, in exchange for receiving benefits from the municipality. State prosecutors said that the case was shelved due to lack of evidence. Shohat was also suspected of appointing someone to a post at the municipality in exchange for political support from the man’s family.

Prosecutors said that there was insufficient evidence for this since it was not proven that Shohat had either promised the job or acted to give it, or that the appointment was unjustified.

In another file closed due to insufficient evidence, Shohat was suspected of obstructing justice, whitewashing a complaint filed against one of his relatives by a young woman from a needy family, in exchange for granting the family financial assistance.

Prosecutors said that Shohat had helped the family before the complaint was filed, as well as subsequently.

“Under these circumstances it will be impossible to prove the required link between the assistance and the dismissal of the complaint,” said prosecutors. Suspicions of fraud and breach of trust were also shelved due to a presumed absence of guilt.

Kiryat Shmona Mayor Malka was suspected of receiving donations from three businessmen, during a 2013 election campaign, in exchange for promoting their business. The case was closed due to an absence of criminal guilt.

There was also insufficient evidence regarding illegal campaign funding.

Malka was also questioned with regard to obstruction of an investigation but the case was closed due to absence of guilt.

Another suspicion was that Malka allegedly made a promise to a city councilor to appoint him to a public post in exchange for supporting the mayor on another appointment he wished to make.

“A thorough examination of the evidence collected in this matter showed that no promise by the mayor could be substantiated in this matter.

Under these circumstances it was decided to shelve the case, for lack of criminal guilt,” state prosecutors said.

Malka was also suspected of using the bank account of a relative who is a foreign resident. An investigation revealed that money transfers associated with the account are related to investments of the account holder in Israel. This led to the case being closed.