The former police superintendent under suspicion in the bribery affair centering around attorney Ronel Fisher said on Monday he would not turn state’s witness in the case.
Eran Malka is suspected of giving information to Fisher in exchange for bribes, bribing other police officers and obstruction of justice. “I’ll have to pay a price, but it will be okay in the end,” said Malka. “There’s no plan to turn state’s witness. I’ve taken responsibility for my actions, and I will pay the price, and with great courage. There’s no alternative.”
Malka claimed he had been uncontrollably sucked into the affair, and that “money was not the issue in this story.”
The Justice Ministry department for the investigation of police officers will submit indictments on Thursday against Fisher and Malka for receiving and facilitating a bribe, fraud and breach of trust, and obstructing an investigation. Both Fisher and Malka had their remands extended on Monday by four and three days, respectively. The investigation department is expected to ask that both men be held until the end of legal proceedings.
Former Tel Aviv district prosecutor Ruth David, a partner in Fisher’s law office who is suspected of giving and facilitating bribes, was released on Monday to house arrest.
Other bribery suspects were named during Monday’s hearing in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. They included building contractors Yosef and Aviv Nahmias, who are suspected of paying bribes, and Erez Mosacho, one of the owners of the Soho sushi restaurant in Rishon Letzion. The Nahmias brothers are suspected of paying bribes and obstructing justice, while Mosacho is suspected of brokering a bribe.
Fisher allegedly utilized Mosacho’s connections with former Rishon Letzion legal adviser Roi Bar and sent Mosacho to offer Bar information about an investigation against him in exchange for money. (Bar is suspected of involvement in corrupt activities of building contractors in Rehovot and Rishon Letzion, and Fisher was the attorney for those who had filed the police complaints against him.) Mosacho conveyed the offer to Bar, who refused to pay the bribe. The information would have allegedly come from Malka.
Judge Joya Skappa-Shapiro said she was extending the remands of Fisher and Malka because of a fear they would disrupt the investigation. She referred specifically to a meeting that several of the suspects held after Fisher had mistakenly received a fax from the Justice Ministry investigations department telling him his cellphone had been hacked. “There is a line dividing a legitimate consultation – in which a criminal suspect meets with his attorney before questioning – and a meeting of several people, some of whom are suspects in the exact same case, whose purpose is to coordinate testimonies and attempt to frustrate future interrogations,” the judge said. “It seems that, in this case, the evidence indicates this line was crossed.”
“All the incidents in this case involve obstructing justice,” investigations department representative Noa Limor told Skappa-Shapiro. “The actions attributed to the respondents are characterized by sophistication, audacity and the absence of restraint, such that one can’t put any faith in them at all. The two didn’t hesitate to use any means, and together crossed all possible boundaries.”
On Sunday, Yair Biton, one of the owners of the B. Yair construction firm, was remanded for four days in connection with the case. Biton is suspected of paying bribes through Fisher, in exchange for information about a covert police probe against him. The investigation, which was made public in May 2014 with Biton’s arrest, was of suspicions that he had transferred 60 million shekels ($15.5 million) to the crime organization of Yitzhak Abergil to help the latter launder money.
The Justice Ministry department for the investigation of police officers suspects that Biton knew about the investigation against him because Fisher and his law partner, Ruth David, allegedly told him about it, and that they even flew abroad to meet Biton and give him documents from the investigation file.
Others suspected of paying bribes to Fisher in exchange for police information are former Maariv publisher and editor Ofer Nimrodi, and former Israel Roads Company CEO Shay Baras. Prof. Yoram Barak, a department head at Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Bat Yam, is suspected of helping disrupt the investigation against Malka by issuing false sick notes for him.