Mayor of northern Israeli town arrested for taking bribes

Mayor of northern Israeli town arrested for taking bribes

Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso has already been removed from office once before on corruption charges

Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso in court in 2010 (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)
Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapso in court in 2010 (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Police arrested the mayor of the northern Israeli town of Upper Nazareth on various charges, including bribery, on Tuesday.

Mayor Shimon Gapso is accused of accepting a bribe, breach of trust, money laundering, violation of privacy and illegally accessing a computer. The Haifa magistrate put him under house arrest for four days and forbade him from having contact with anybody involved in the case.

Police allege that Gapso took a bribe from a local businessman to keep a banquet hall open even though it did not have the correct permits, posted people’s personal information in public and accessed the computers of other city officials to learn personal details about them.

The embattled mayor was reelected in last month’s municipal elections less than a month after the High Court of Justice removed him and the mayor of Ramat Hasharon from office due to ongoing corruption trials.

Gapso’s arrest coincided with Tuesday’s mayoral runoff elections in municipalities that failed to choose a mayor during nationwide voting two weeks ago. He is not the only recently elected mayor facing legal troubles in the wake of last week’s elections.

Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani still faces charges of corruption from before his reelection, and Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul has been facing public calls for a new round of voting after police uncovered a voting fraud plot and identified one of his associates as a main suspect.

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