Former soccer star Haim Revivo convicted in real estate graft case linked to MK

Revivo to perform four months of community service and pay fine of NIS 20,000 over charges that surfaced during investigation of Likud lawmaker David Bitan

Haim Revivo seen at a press conference for the new soccer league season in the Jerusalem municipality on July 31, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Haim Revivo seen at a press conference for the new soccer league season in the Jerusalem municipality on July 31, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A former top Israeli soccer player was convicted Tuesday in a plea deal for his part in an alleged real estate bribery scheme.

The Central District Court approved the deal, signed in January, under which Haim Revivo was convicted of breach of trust, received four months of community service and was ordered to pay a fine of NIS 20,000 ($6,395).

Revivo, who played on Israel’s national soccer squad during the 1990s as well as in several top-division Spanish teams, was accused of giving NIS 10,000 ($2,760) to Arnon Giladi when the latter was deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, in exchange for permits for construction work on a property that he owns in the coastal city.

The suspicions against Revivo emerged during a far-reaching corruption investigation into Likud MK and former coalition chairman David Bitan.

Bitan was indicted in August last year on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, as well as money laundering and tax offenses, over accusations he pocketed some NIS 715,000 ($220,000) in bribes while serving in public office.

The charges date back to when Bitan — a confidant of ex-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — was deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion, before he was elected to the Knesset in 2013, but also include his tenure as an MK.

MK David Bitan at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Bitan had waived a request for parliamentary immunity from criminal prosecution, meaning the indictment against him could be filed with the court.

The investigation, dubbed Case 1803, has seen the arrests of a number of suspects, including Rishon Lezion city officials, local businessmen, and organized crime figures.

While he has denied wrongdoing, Bitan stepped down from his role as coalition whip in 2017 shortly after news of the police investigation broke.

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