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Holyland Investigation Continues to Grow – Lupoliansky Publicly Speaks To Media, Shifts Blame To Olmert

For a bribery case to be considered prominent enough to make Israelis sit back and say “wow”, it must be of such proportions that it can push aside the daily reports of public officials being arrested or questioned for alleged law-breaking.

It appears the Holyland case may be a record-breaker, even on the shoestrings of many other significant bribery cases, some resulting in senior government officials serving jail sentences.

The main player being reported in the case is an individual who police suspect received NIS 55 million from Holyland developers, acting as the intermediary, passing the bribery funds to the necessary persons towards advancing the project, eventually gaining the required permits to build the monstrous structure, now a constant eyesore that has penetrated the tranquil Jerusalem skyline.

Another key suspect is an accountant, who police believe did a masterful job in making payoffs in the form of legitimate donations, seeking to pressure him into turning over the facts in the case, to incriminate others. Police also believe that in some cases, opponents of the project were persuaded to become supporters after they received free apartments. This absolved Holyland developers from handing over cash, making the transaction more difficult to trace. The accountant insists that he does not know where the large sums of money were transferred.

This is not unique, as many Jerusalemites are aware. Building developers elsewhere in the capital have done the same, literally buying support and needed permits by giving apartments to family members of public officials and inspectors, thereby obtaining the needed support and documentation, while avoiding a paper trail of cash or payment.

Following the arrest of former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, police are signaling that he played a vital role in his capacity as head of the planning board, a man who was instrumental in obtaining the approval to move ahead with the project.

Speaking publicly with Channel 10 News on Wednesday night, Lupoliansky shifted the responsibility to former Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, explaining the mayor makes the decisions, not his deputy, insisting the deputy has no authority for such decisions.

Golan added that Lupoliansky has receipts for funds donated to Yad Sarah, and that money was a donation, nothing more. He stresses that his client made no effort to hide these funds as they were legitimate donations to the charitable organization.

It should also be pointed out that Lupoliansky, the father of 12, still lives in his modest Jerusalem apartment of 90 meters, not the sign of someone who took millions in bribes his supporters point out.

Prominent attorney Yair Golan will on Thursday appeal to the Rishon L’Tzion District Court against the decision of a lower court to order Lupoliansky remanded, held over for an additional five days. He insists that his client did not play a major role in the case as alleged and the decision to remand him is simply unjustified.

Ehud Olmert has cut his travels short to return home to permit police to question him in the case, seemingly wishing to avoid giving an impression that he is remaining abroad to avoid being questioned by police. Olmert aides have released statements that the former prime minister has nothing to do with any illegal activities pertaining to the Holyland project.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

4 Responses

  1. Quote:
    “It should also be pointed out that Lupoliansky, the father of 12, still lives in his modest Jerusalem apartment of 90 meters, not the sign of someone who took millions in bribes his supporters point out.”

    the size of the apartment is no measure of if or if not he took bribes.

  2. #1 Read again.
    It said the apartments themselves were given as bribes.,
    If he were accepting bribes, he would have a big enough apartment.
    So it is of great measure

  3. The facts suggest the Lupoliansky did not accept bribes. At worst, he was inclined to support a developer who was also a supporter of frum causes. If that’s a crime, it means anyone supporting Torah causes will be considered a criminal. A developer should support charities in the area he serves, and political leaders should expect such public-spirited activities (even if done for an ulterior motive). It is a good thing. If Holyland developers had supported the association for disgusting practices, or a school for apikorism, they would be lauded by the same people who have accused them of bribery.

    My post (removed previously) comparing the Israeli judiciary to the Stalinist and Nazi courts is an accurate analogy. I would
    list that at the top of my resume.

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