Court extends custody of top lawyer held in bribery case

Police superintendent questioned about his ties with Ronel Fisher, who allegedly traded confidential info for cash

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Ronel Fisher seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's court on July 7, 2014, (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ronel Fisher seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's court on July 7, 2014, (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A prominent lawyer who allegedly sold information to criminal suspects regarding their cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars was ordered by a judge to remain in custody for an additional four days on Monday.

The lawyer, named on Sunday as Ronel Fisher, is also suspected of transferring money to police officers in exchange for the termination of his defendants’ investigations.

A police superintendent was questioned under caution about his relationship with Fisher. The policeman, who was a personal friend of Fisher’s, was also in charge of a case against Alon Hassan, the Ashdod Port union leader. Authorities have yet to decide whether to arrest the policeman, who allegedly accompanied Fisher on trips abroad.

Fisher was apprehended in a sting operation after he was handed a suitcase containing NIS 150,000 (about $43,875) by Hassan, who is under investigation for his alleged role in a port corruption ring, and who was collaborating with police during the time of the sting operation. All the bills were marked by police.

Hassan was arrested in May, along with 14 other suspects, during a police raid on the Ashdod port. Authorities said that their investigation revealed a suspected network of port workers who would use their influence to secure port contracts for private companies controlled by associates, who would in turn kick back a share of their profits to the workers. The suspects were detained on various charges including abuse of office, bribery, breach of trust, extortion, fraud, and money-laundering.

Ronel Fisher (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ronel Fisher (photo credit: Courtesy)

A police representative who mediated between the lawyer, the police and the suspected criminals was also arrested on Sunday. The arrests were the result of a year-long undercover operation.

Hassan claimed during his investigation that he had been approached by Fisher before the arrests. The lawyer told Hassan he could “help make all of your problems disappear,” the Ynet news site reported. He then informed Hassan that a police investigation into the ports was taking place and demanded bribes in exchange for further details. The lawyer later notified Hassan of his upcoming arrest.

Hassan decided to collaborate with police’s Lahav 443 special investigations unit after he became suspicious that Fisher, aside from providing him with information, was also handing police incriminating evidence against him, possibly in order to receive additional bribes in the future.

Alon Hassan (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Alon Hassan (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Fisher is said to have close ties with a number of senior police officials, and in the past had even represented several of them in court. However, it is still unclear whether the lawyer ever received bribes from any of the senior police officials.

Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.

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