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Daily Israel Report

Documents Missing in Holyland Affair

Police discover that forms have 'disappeared' in Holyland case. Former mayor, accountant released to house arrest.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/18/2010, 6:06 PM / Last Update: 4/18/2010, 7:02 PM

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Police investigating the Holyland case recently discovered that several original documents had “disappeared,” according to journalist Yoav Yitzchak. The problem of the missing documents led police to suspect that sources within the halls of power in Jerusalem were aware of the undercover investigation that began in 2008.

The missing documents allegedly show that Orna Angel, then the chief architect of the Jerusalem municipality, objected to the Holyland plans. Angel told police that she was required to sign documents approving the construction project, but added the words “under duress” to her signature to express her disapproval.

Her disapproval stemmed from the fact that the Holyland investors had received approval for a huge building project – a project 1200% larger than the one they originally proposed.

Police have been investigating alleged corruption and bribery in connection to the Holyland construction project in Jerusalem. It is alleged that businessmen involved in Holyland bribed municipal officials in order to receive various permits, and to expand the project beyond what would normally be allowed.

The prime suspect in the case is former Prime Minister, and former Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert. Olmert remains suspect in a number of other corruption cases as well. He said Thursday that the Holyland case was “character assassination on an unprecedented scale,” and insisted, “I have never been offered a bribe, and I have never accepted a bribe.”

Lupoliansky Released to House Arrest
On Sunday, former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky was released to house arrest. Lupoliansky was arrested over the Holyland affair, as was city accountant Eliyahu Hasson. Hasson was also released to house arrest; both men were required to leave 100,000 shekels as bail.

Lupoliansky has been accused of working with Olmert to push forward the Holyland project when he served as deputy mayor to Olmert. Investigators believe that large sums of money were transferred to Yad Sarah, an extensive charity network founded by Lupoliansky.

Under the terms of release, Lupoliansky may not make contact with the municipality or with Yad Sarah.

Dozens of young men from the Sanhedria neighborhood of Jerusalem, where the former mayor lives, gathered around his home as he returned from jail. The youth sang and danced in honor of Lupoliansky's release.