Police seek rape charges for local council leader
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Police seek rape charges for local council leader

Complex case also involves Israeli building contractor appointed honorary consul to Israel by Belarus last month

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Mateh Yehuda Regional Council head Moshe Dadon (screen capture: YouTube)
Mateh Yehuda Regional Council head Moshe Dadon (screen capture: YouTube)

Police on Wednesday recommended that the head of a regional council in central Israel be indicted for a string of serious offences, including rape and bribery.

Investigators believe there is sufficient evidence to charge Moshe Dadon, who leads the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, and his brother Avi over a number of alleged sexual assaults as well as for corruption in a scandal over building tenders.

According to the Ynet news site, Dadon is suspected of a raft of crimes including sex offences, money laundering, obstruction of justice, abuse of office, fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.

The police also sought an indictment for Gabi Magnezi, a building contractor, founder of the Israel Belarus Chamber of Commerce and honorary consul of Belarus in Israel, for corruption in the same tenders affair. Magnezi is also facing charges of fraud and falsifying corporate documents, the Calcalist business website reported.

Moshe Dadon is accused of accepting bribes from Magnezi in return for promoting his pipe-production business, Calcalist said.

Businessman Gabi Magnezi (YouTube screenshot)
Businessman Gabi Magnezi (YouTube screenshot)

The two Dadon brothers and other senior council officials — including the municipality’s legal adviser — are also accused of accepting bribes in return for advancing the sale of a private factory on council land, according to Calcalist.

The recommendations were the outcome of what the police described as a “wide-ranging, many-branched and complex investigation” by its Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit, which included the seizure of property as well as cash hidden in safes and stashed in banks.

The investigation focused on “a system of corrupt relationships, within which the head of the council and additional figures — including the legal adviser to the council and other senior individuals — advanced the interests of building contractor Gabi Magnezi and the public company he owns, in return for bribes.”

Those involved in the factory case have been summoned by the Jerusalem district prosecutor for criminal offenses for hearings prior to any indictments, the police said.

Income tax and anti-trust authorities were also involved in the probes, along with a Justice Ministry financial intelligence body set up to counter money laundering.

Illustrative: The offices of Israel Police's Lahav 433 Unit in Lod. (Flash 90)
Illustrative: The offices of Israel Police’s Lahav 433 Unit in Lod. (Flash 90)

Months of undercover work led exactly one year ago, on December 21, 2015, to the arrest of 12 people — among them Moshe Dadon — and the detention of a further eight people on suspicion of involvement in bribery, fraud and tax-related offenses involving building contractors and suppliers.

Dadon was banned from working as council leader and from entering council premises.

At the time, the Tel Aviv prosecutor’s office warned ministries and companies linked to Magnezi’s projects to stay away from him. They even included testimonies with the letters they sent out, which Magnezi refuted.

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