Petah Tikva Mayor Rami Greenberg and the city's director-general were arrested Wednesday on suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Law enforcement officials suspect that in 2018, while the mayor was campaigning for his current position, he received hundreds of thousands of shekels from people with business interests in the city and promised to advance their interests in return.
Also on Wednesday, Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended by six days the detention of the mayor and Director-General Yaniv Benita, as well as two businessmen suspected of giving the bribes, Moshe Saadon and Ron Omsi.
The police say they have listened to conversations between the mayor and the other three suspects for months, and that the investigation has been ongoing for about a year. According to testimony from Omsi given on Wednesday, the police are attempting to convince him to become a state witness against Greenberg.
Greenberg’s attorney, Ofer Bartel, said the mayor is cooperating with the investigation. Benita’s attorney, Uri Korev, likewise said his client is cooperating and added that there was no specific suspicion cast on the director-general “other than the falsification of articles of law, without any detail.”
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The judge in the case rejected a response to a request to photograph Greenberg, saying there is “no need to take pictures of him in his most humiliating moment.”
The suspects are also accused of false corporate reporting, money laundering and tax law offenses.
The investigation is being conducted by the Lahav 433 anti-fraud police unit in cooperation with the Israel Tax Authority and the State Prosecutor’s Office.
In a separate case, a claim said Greenberg, issuing threats via his associates, would only release money budgeted to certain municipal bodies if his opponents there were fired or transferred to other positions.