26 December 2014
Israeli police announced that two dozen current and former officials in a corruption probe. Four others are under house arrest. Some of those arrested include members of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party. This must be a severe blow to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as the next election is just 3 months away.
Lieberman was forced to step down as foreign minister in December 2012 after he was implicated in a corruption scandal. He was reinstated, after he was acquitted in November 2013.
Former tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov was also detained. It was revealed that Stas Misezhnikov attempted to leave the country but was prevented from doing so by the police.Deputy interior minister Faina Kirshenbaum was questioned by the police and her daughter, Ronit will remain in custody until Sunday. Kirshenbaum was not arrested because of her parliamentary immunity but it came clear that she played a leading role in this fiasco.
Some heads of local authorities had to pay bribes to have their budget approved. This amounts to extortion. This and many other methods such as giving jobs, were used to raise the bribes.
The bribes collected were then sent to NGO’s on false pretenses and then received back as kick-backs. Thus an elaborate scheme was put in place that would be difficult to detect.
Israeli police have been working on this case for about a year. It is belied that police had a state witness helping them in the investigations and collection of evidence.