State Wants 7 Year Jailtime for MK Benizri, Convicted of Bribery

Court rules Shas MK unlawfully received hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of services from contractor.

The state is requesting that Shas MK Shlomo Benizri serve a sentence of seven years jail time, pay a heavy fine and be convicted of moral turpitude, following his conviction earlier this month of bribery and other violations.

The sentence request was presented at a Jerusalem District Court hearing on Tuesday.

At the beginning of April, the court convicted the former minister of accepting hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribes, breach of trust, and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Rabbi Reuven Elbaz, Benizri's political and spiritual patron, was convicted of mediating in bribery and conspiracy to commit a crime.

The court ruled that Benizri received through bribes hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of services from contractor Moshe Sela, including the purchase of furniture, installation of an air-conditioning system, payments to a charity and renovations. In addition, Sela donated NIS 200,000 and $30,000 to a yeshiva.

Benizri was convicted of conspiring to commit a crime and obstruction of justice because he agreed with Sela to lie about his accepting perks. The two attempted to coordinate their stories with others involved.

Benizri, however, was acquitted of receiving money from Sela apparently in order to pay off a mortgage, or possibly some other form of regular assistance. He was also acquitted of receiving monthly payments of $200,000.