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Former soccer star signs plea deal in real estate corruption case

Haim Revivo to perform four months of community service and pay fine of NIS 20,000, over charges that surfaced as part of graft investigation against Likud MK 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 on Tuesday signed a plea deal in an alleged real estate bribery scheme.

Haim Revivo, who during the 1990s played on Israel’s national soccer team, was suspected 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.

According to the plea deal, Revivo will only be indicted for breach of trust, receive four months of community service and be ordered to pay a fine of NIS 20,000 ($6,395).

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

State prosecutors last month announced that Bitan will be indicted 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)

Last year, Bitan waived a request for parliamentary immunity from criminal prosecution, meaning the indictment against him can now 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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