Of­fi­cials face charges in ‘largest cor­rup­tion probe’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IS­RAEL plans to charge of­fi­cials from De­fence Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man’s party in a ma­jor cor­rup­tion probe, with one also ac­cused of drug of­fences, the at­tor­ney gen­eral said.

The charges are linked to what has been called “one of the largest pub­lic cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions in Is­rael”, in­volv­ing al­leged crimes com­mit­ted be­tween 2009 and 2014.

Mr Lieber­man, who joined Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s gov­ern­ment in May, is not among the 16 peo­ple fac­ing charges.

His hard­line na­tion­al­ist Yis­rael Beit­enu party holds five seats in Is­rael’s 120-seat par­lia­ment.

For­mer deputy in­te­rior min­is­ter and Yis­rael Beit­enu sec­re­tary gen­eral Faina Kir­shen­baum along with for­mer tourism min­is­ter Stas Misezh­nikov are to be charged with bribery, fraud and tax of­fences, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Avichai Man­del­blit’s of­fice said.

Mr Misezh­nikov is also fac­ing charges of pos­sess­ing co­caine in Is­rael and abroad and us­ing it on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions in his ca­pac­ity as min­is­ter.

Oth­ers named in­clude ad­vi­sors, lob­by­ists and lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from Mr Lieber­man’s party.

In De­cem­ber 2014, po­lice ar­rested more than two dozen cur­rent and for­mer Yis­rael Beit­enu of­fi­cials as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The ar­rests came just three months be­fore Is­rael’s 2015 gen­eral elec­tions.

Mr Lieber­man, who in 2014 ac­cused au­thor­i­ties of try­ing to med­dle in the elec­tions by prob­ing and ar­rest­ing mem­bers of his party, had no com­ment on the lat­est an­nounce­ment.

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