May 26, 2019 / 3:39 PM / 5 months ago

Israeli police recommend bribery charges against Shikun & Binui

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s police and its securities regulator said they had sufficient evidence to proceed with a bribery case against Shikun & Binui, Israel’s largest construction group, its units and senior executives.

Police did not name any of the individuals involved and a spokesman for the force was not immediately available to comment. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Investigations into Shikun and Binui began in February 2018 and the company said at the time that four current and former employees of a foreign subsidiary had been detained for questioning by Israeli police on suspicion of bribery in Africa.

Police and the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) said on Sunday they had completed the investigation and would send the results to the state prosecutor’s office in the coming days.

Offences, they said, include bribery of a foreign public servant, misrepresentation of corporate documents, conspiracy, disruption of legal proceedings, money laundering and misreporting to authorities between 2008 and 2016.

“According to the evidence collected, in Kenya alone where the investigation focused ... bribes totalling tens of millions of shekels were transferred, generating projects and benefits worth hundreds of millions of shekels,” police and the ISA said.

They said Shikun & Binui and its units transferred bribery payments to civil servants in various African countries, especially in Kenya, “with the aim of increasing the company’s profits”.

During the investigation, which was made in conjunction with Kenya’s anti-corruption unit in Nairobi, 50 suspects were interrogated, including 19 public servants in Kenya.

Arison Group, controlled by Israeli-American billionaire Shari Arison, owned a majority stake in Shikun & Binui before selling its stake last August.

Arison’s lawyers said in a statement they were certain that the state prosecutor, after examining the case, “will reach an informed conclusion that there was no flaw in Shari Arison’s conduct.”

($1 = 3.6005 shekels)

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by David Holmes

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