Fines ranging from 510,000 to 750,000 shekels were imposed Sunday morning upon four major Israeli fuel companies: Delek, Paz, Sonol and Dor Alon, for neglecting to report fuel leaks at various facilities.
The Magistrate's Court in Tel Aviv confirmed that the companies involved have been convicted in dozens of cases for the omission of testing seals as well as failure to report leaks in which seals have failed. They have also committed offenses such as polluting water reservoirs of fuel.
The companies in question have also been convicted for suppression of the names of the responsible executives, laying blame on the respective companies themselves.
The four indictments allege misleading action for "continuously concealing the testing seals and fuel leaks" during the years 2000-2004.
Delek was convicted of omitting 70 tests which failed the pipe tightness tests in 44 stations, a violation of regulations for gas stations. Sonol failed to report 38 failed pipe tightness tests in 25 stations; Paz 44 tests in 32 stations; and Dor Alon 21 tests in 16 stations.
The plea bargain set up a penalty framework for each company, ultimately ranging between 510 to 750 thousand shekels each.
Judge Benny Sagi reprimanded the State Attorney's verdict on the extended period of time it took for the enforcement of regulations:
"It seems to me you can point to a certain contradiction here. That of the conduct of the cumbersome State to integrate a file transfer from the office of Melchior Abramovitch, who handled the case professionally and filed the charges within a reasonable period of time, and between the claim which argues to enforce a punishment to deter the defendants from repetition of action."
Due to this argument, as well as the defendant's confession, Judge Sagi approved of the "reasonable" plea bargain.