Police call for indictment of Netanya’s deputy mayor in corruption case
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Police call for indictment of Netanya’s deputy mayor in corruption case

Fraud unit recommends charges against Rabbi Shimon Sher, who allegedly benefited from kickback scheme run by Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Netanya Deputy Mayor Rabbi Shimon Sher brought for a court hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate court on September 7, 2016. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)
Netanya Deputy Mayor Rabbi Shimon Sher brought for a court hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate court on September 7, 2016. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)

The Israel Police called Monday for the indictment of Netanya Deputy Mayor Rabbi Shimon Sher and several local business leaders for their involvement in suspected bribe-taking in the coastal town.

Police recommended charges for “bribery, fraud and betrayal of public trust,” following the completion of a year-long investigation into Sher and other city officials by the Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit, a police statement said.

A number of Netanya business people were also to be recommended for indictment, the statement said without naming them.

They are believed to have helped “advance the interests of contractors and business people over the course of several years in exchange for directly funding foundations connected to the deputy mayor,” police said.

The alleged corruption took place as part of a scheme created and run by Netanyahu Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar in which city officials and contractors are suspected of bribery, fraud, money laundering and tax offenses involving millions of shekels.

Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg attends a campaign event on February 24, 2015, in Netanya (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Last September, Sher, who then served as head of the city’s local works and development committee, was arrested along with Feirberg-Ikar, city developer Avraham Tshuva, attorney Avraham Gogig, and architect Gabi Tetro.

Police suspect they worked to promote the interests of contractors and entrepreneurs in exchange for bribes and other benefits. As part of the scheme, municipal officials allegedly did not report their conflicts of interest in dealing with the contractors.

In March, police recommended Feirberg-Ikar be indicted, accusing her of systematically accepting millions of shekels in bribes in return for promoting certain construction projects. She was also accused of money-laundering, fraud and breach of trust.

Like the suspicions against Feirberg-Ikar, the recommendation to indict Sher will be now be handed over to the district attorney who, together with the state attorney, will now decide whether to press charges.

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