Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership Chair Convicted of Fraud

Nathan Wolloch, deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and longtime chair of the ” title=”Haaretz reports” target=”_blank”>Haaretz reports:

A year ago, Wolloch was convicted of fraud and breach of trust among other charges. From 1999 to 2001 he registered a Moldovan woman, Anastasia Babkina, for courses provided by the city of Tel Aviv, and fraudulently helped her to obtain a visa to Israel. He did so for the late businessman Reuven Gross, who was having an affair with the woman.

Gross had been facing several charges of using improper means to win municipal tenders to operate parking lots, such as using insider information he received from workers of Ahuzot Hof, the municipal parking-lot company. But the proceedings against Gross were halted when he died three years ago.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court sentenced Wolloch to five months in prison and 200 hours of community service, but ruled his offenses did not involve moral turpitude. The prosecution appealed this ruling, while Wolloch appealed the conviction.

The District Court yesterday upheld the conviction and said Wolloch had abused his authority as deputy mayor to mislead a state authority. Judges Dvora Berliner, George Kara and Miriam Sokolov said it was especially grim “that the appelant helped to bypass a legal state demand, by giving preference on the basis of personal relations…this [practice] is a plague in Israel and the court must denounce it unequivocally.”