Hamburger Evron & Co.

The company argues that in light of the court’s ruling, according to which the State did not prove that irregular incentives were given in the Holyland project – the State’s arguments can infer that the company is both corrupt and stupid


According to the State’s arguments, Holyland Park Company is both corrupt and stupid. So says (Monday, 24.2.14) the Company’s counsel, Attorneys Shai Pines and Liat Elpaz, in their closing arguments in the Holyland trial.


Holyland Park was established by Polar Investments, Kardan Real Estate and Leumi Investments and acquired 82% of the Holyland project from Hilel Cherny. According to the State’s arguments, Polar and Holyland Park managers – Avigdor Kelner, Shimon Galon and Amnon Safran – bribed senior city officials at the Jerusalem Municipality through Shmuel Dachner, in order to obtain irregular incentives for the project in the previous decade.


Pines and Elpaz recapped that Judge David Rozen had already ruled it had not been proven that the project had been given irregular incentives and therefore, they argue, there was no cause to pay a bribe. They also say that all the payments to Dachner were legitimate and in recompense of his work and that the evidence of bribery having taken place is purely circumstantial. Accordingly, the State had to prove this is the only explanation for these payments, a task in which it had failed.


A considerable amount of the summations was devoted to a strong attack on Dachner, with the defense saying that turning him into a State witness was intended to help him in a massive claim against Cherny and did not arise from his having been caught or through any sentiments of remorse. According to the defense attorneys, there is no evidence of a meeting having taken place between the directors of Holyland Park and Dachner in which, in the latter’s version, he updated them on the bribery payments that had started in Cherny’s time and received their agreement to the continued financing of such payments.


Pines and Elpaz accuse the police and the prosecution of shortcomings in their inquiry, which were apparent in that despite the fact that Yoav Segalovitz, then Chief of the Police Intelligence and Investigations Branch, called Dachner a “crook”, the documents he gave his investigators were not suspiciously scrutinized and their different versions were not suitably examined. As a result, it was only during cross-examinations that Dachner’s many lies were exposed, and during which he was forced to use the expressions “I was confused” or “I didn’t mean to” on 37 occasions, as well as 77 uses of the phrase “I was wrong” in its many variations. It was further said that Dachner’s lies were so sophisticated that it seemed it would never be possible to extract the real truth from them.


Regarding the responsibility of Holyland Park as a result of the actions of its directors, Pines and Elpaz say that Kelner was not even an officer of the company, and that it is yet to be proved that both Galon and Safran were involved in the bribery offenses, but – as already stated, the amounts paid to Dachner were reasonable and therefore not proof of such involvement by them.