Menu JTA Search

A Principal in Land Sales Fraud Case is Arraigned

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Avi Tzur, a former aide to Deputy Defense Minister Michael Dekel when the latter was Deputy Minister of Agriculture, was arraigned in magistrates court here today on charges of promoting land sales in the West Bank with forged documents and accepting bribes from land developers.

Tzur, who works for the Airport Authority, is one of two former aides of Dekel arrested last week on suspicion of land sales fraud. The other, Claude Malka, an aide now to Transport Minister Haim Corfu, is free on bail. Dekel, who was named to the Defense Ministry post only last week, was questioned yesterday for five hours by Chief Superintendent of Police Shimon Savir, head of the serious crimes division.

Reportedly, he was questioned about forged documents issued in his name by Tzur; about his management of West Bank settlement affairs during his tenure at the Agriculture Ministry; his knowledge, if any, of letters issued on his personal Ministry stationery, signed by Tzur; and about the suspected misappropriation of funds contributed to the Likud 1984 election campaign chest.

Dekel’s appearance was voluntary and he has not been accused of any offense. But the arrests of his two exaides triggered charges by Likud that the police were acting from political motivations. The Police Ministry is headed by a prominent Laborite, Haim Barlev.

ACCUSATIONS AGAINST TZUR

Tzur is accused of having received about 30 million Shekels (more than $50,000 at the time) to get government approval of new settlements in the West Bank where developers wanted to sell land to the public.

He is said to have pocketed part of the money and passed the rest on to a Likud group promoting increased settlement activity. He is also accused of giving developers forged documents to dupe potential land buyers. The documents indicated that certain settlements had been approved by the Cabinet when in fact they had not.

Meanwhile, Avraham Gindi, a land developer accused of promoting fraudulent sales with letters supplied by Tzur, remains under 24-hour surveillance in a Tel Aviv jail cell. Last Friday he attempted to jump from a sixth sixth floor window in Tel Aviv District Court just as police finished reading charges against him. Gindi’s brothers, Moshe and Yigal, who own and manage the Friendly Rival Land Development Co., are wanted for questioning. They bolted the country several weeks ago for the U.S. with their families. Israel Radio said yesterday that the two men left their families in America and are now in Brazil which has no extradition treaty with Israel.

NEXT STORY