Former Hapoalim chairman Dankner gets 3 years in jail for bribery

TEL AVIV, May 13 (Reuters) - Former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner was sentenced to three years in jail on Tuesday in a bribery trial in which former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received a six-year prison term.

Dankner became chairman of Hapoalim, Israel’s largest lender, in 2007 and stepped down in 2009 after a two-month battle with banking regulators who demanded his resignation.

He was one of 13 defendants in a case that centred around bribery allegations in a Jerusalem real estate deal, during Olmert’s 1993-2003 tenure as mayor of the city, that led to the construction of the Holyland apartment tower complex.

Dankner was convicted in Tel Aviv District Court in March of three counts of bribery in the Holyland trial. It found that he had transferred 1.3 million shekels to the personal assistant of a real estate investor, who then gave it to an official who would make favourable land rulings for Dankner.

In a separate case, Dankner was sentenced in December to a year in jail on fraud charges related to numerous deals during his tenure as Hapoalim chairman.

Sentences in the Holyland case were handed down against seven of the accused, including Danker and Olmert, Israel’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009.

In addition to a three-year jail term, Danker was fined 500,000 shekels ($144,800) and sentenced to two years probation. He denied any wrongdoing and said he planned to appeal to the Supreme Court.

$1 = 3.4537 Israeli Shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Jeffrey Heller