Four Israel Land Administration (ILA) workers have been arrested by Israel Police on suspicion of accepting bribes and sexual favors in exchange for reducing payments owed to the ILA. The bribery is believed to have cost the taxpayer millions of shekels.
A further 27 suspects were also detained by police, among them lawyers and middle-men, who are suspected of offering and soliciting bribes. Detectives also raided the ILA offices in Tel Aviv where they seized documents.
Police say their inquiries have revealed a case of serious, wide-ranging corruption in the public sector in which "the suspects used their seniority within the authority to satisfy their greed."
The inquiry was launched a year ago after detectives at the Israel Police Economic Crimes Unit received information that the suspects had been receiving kickbacks in exchange for tampering with and falsifying ILA documents and records. As a result, the people paying the bribes were given exemptions from payments amounting to considerable sums. The sexual favors were often provided at the ILA office itself.
The inquiry was conducted in cooperation with the ILA. Police say further arrests are likely.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 17, 2008
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008