Police recommended on Tuesday indicting Hadera Mayor Zvi Gendelman for fraud, breach of trust, and obstruction for allegedly providing favors to a local contractor in exchange for support in the October 2018 municipal election in the city.
The investigation surrounding Gendelman was part of a broader corruption investigation in the city. The mayor was among several suspects interrogated by the police anti-fraud unit, Lahav 433, in June 2018 after early morning raids on their homes and offices. He was questioned over suspected bribery, corruption and tax-related offenses, and was remanded in custody for a week.
Gendelman is now suspected of using his position as mayor — he was the incumbent in the October race — to help influential contractor Sammy Levy in his business dealings in exchange for Levy’s backing. The two men did not report their ties to authorities as required by election law, police said in a statement Tuesday.
The statement said the investigation had pieced together evidence of “fraud, computer crime, conspiracy to commit a crime, and obstruction of the investigation” by the two men.
The investigation, a collaboration between Lahav 433 and the Tax Authority’s Yahalom investigative unit, saw police bug Gendelman’s office and spend months piecing together the relationship between the mayor and the contractor.
Police wrapped up their investigation on Tuesday and handed their evidence and conclusions to state prosecutors, who will decide whether to press charges in the case.
When news of the investigation broke in June, the Yesh Atid party announced it would kick Gendelman from the party’s ranks in keeping with its anti-corruption pledges.
Gendelman was reelected Hadera’s mayor on October 30 with 41 percent of the vote.
Marissa Newman contributed to this report.