The mayor of the central Israel city of Kfar Saba, Yehuda Ben-Hamo, was summoned on Wednesday by Israel’s state attorney’s office for a hearing ahead of an expected indictment.
He is to be charged with intimidating a witness who testified against him, disrupting court proceedings, violating a legal instruction and committing tax offenses.
Ben-Hamo allegedly committed the crimes in September after he received a summary of the investigation material against him on previous charges, which include aggravated fraud, deception, breach of trust, theft by a public servant and housing offenses.
In February, the Kfar Saba mayor was among six people arrested on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. In August he was summoned to a hearing on those charges.
According to a letter sent to Ben-Hamo, he is suspected of instructing members of his office in 2004 to request donations of gift cards from businessmen and contractors, supposedly to benefit the city’s poor. The Kfar Saba mayor received hundreds of thousands’ worth of the cards, and then handed some of them out to his friends, close associates and employees, with the goal of achieving political benefits.
“Some of the cards were taken by Ben-Hamo for his personal needs,” the State Attorney office said. “Ben-Hamo did not report the intakes to the Tax Authority and did not pay the taxes derived from this activity.”