Former Ashkelon Mayor Convicted of Taking Bribes; Not Guilty for Media Coverage

YERUSHALAYIM -
Then-mayor of Ashkelon, Itamar Shimoni, arrives to the Rishon LeTzion Magistrates Court, on March 10, 2016. (Flash90)

Itamar Shimoni, former mayor of Ashkelon, was convicted in Tel Aviv District Court on Monday of bribery, breach of trust and money laundering, but was found not guilty of swaying media coverage in his favor.

The conviction comes a week after police arrested more than a dozen employees of local municipalities for their suspected roles in a wide-ranging kickback scheme.

The acquittal of Shimoni regarding the positive media coverage is a matter of great interest because it is a blow to the State Attorney’s Office who relied on this charge in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “Case 4000” in that sympathetic coverage is considered a bribe.