Last December, businessman and contractor Gabi Magnezi was arrested by the Israel Police’s Lahav 433 fraud unit on suspicions of bribery, fraud, money laundering and violation of antitrust laws. The court determined that the suspicions were well-grounded and he was released from detention to house arrest. So far no indictment has been served against him or any of his associates, and police are continuing with their investigation.
Magenzi is still struggling to clear his name but the Tel Aviv branch of the State Prosecution decided to issue letters to ministries and companies associated with Magenzi’s projects, warning them against associating with companies he owns. The letters contain testimonies against him which he has refuted.
The letters contain evidence not seen previously by Magenzi’s attorneys. “According to evidence obtained during the investigation there are alleged suspicions of fraud that went on for years,” said one of the letters, which details facts related to the investigation, including testimony by witnesses. One item relates to veteran engineer Gil Schuldenfrei, who allegedly was asked by Magnezi to take possession of all the shares belonging to Magnezi Infrastructure Ltd., posing as that company’s chief engineer, with the aim of giving the company a high rating for tax purposes.
The letter contains only Schuldenfrei’s version as a witness in the case, without noting that Magnezi denies the allegations and says that he is innocent. The letter claims that there are also other charges under investigation. These relate to possible forgery of affidavits relating to some of Magnezi’s projects, information which could constitute obstruction of justice. His lawyers argue that the dissemination of ongoing investigative material in a criminal case is a violation of the law and of the assumption of their client’s innocence.
State prosecutors responded by saying that “when there are substantiated suspicions of wrongful conduct it is our duty to inform relevant parties so that they can examine their publicly funded associations with the suspect, based on the law and on common sense.”