Monday, October 26, 2020

Israel: Mayor of Kiryat Motzkin faces corruption charges

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Police on Monday recommended that Haim Tzuri, the mayor of Kiryat Motzkin in northern Israel, be put on trial on a series of corruption charges.

Officers say they have gathered evidence indicating that Tzuri and some of his associates took bribes, committed fraud and breach of trust, and obstructed justice, as well as various privacy violations.

Among the allegations, police said the mayor allegedly gathered information on residents’ political preferences to secure his reelection. In addition, public funds were allegedly used to upgrade the municipal database for Tzuri’s political needs.

“The joint investigation revealed that for years, [the suspects] used the database on Kiryat Motzkin residents, which is managed by the city and includes information on all residents of the city, to advance the mayor’s election campaign,” police said in a statement.

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“In addition, it is suspected that public funds were used to upgrade the city’s database for Tzuri’s political needs,” the statement said. “Information was also gathered on the political views of the city’s residents in the city hall database, and therefore it is suspected that the right to privacy of the residents was violated.”

Separately, Tzuri is accused of reaching out by proxy to a competitor’s campaign staffer in 2018, promising him financial benefits if he turned over information on the challenger.

Police said they were also investigating suspicions of wiretapping carried out by Tzuri’s associates on the campaign office of his challenger in that same election.

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