Police: Put Senior Yisrael Beytenu Figures on Trial

October 21, 2015  

The police on Wednesday recommended putting senior members of the Yisrael Beytenu party on trial as part of the massive public corruption scandal that broke late last year.

Among the senior figures of the party are former Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum, former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, and 34 other suspects.

The Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit of the police concluded their investigation into the case in recent days, in which suspicions of a massive organized mechanism funneling public funds in return for various benefits was investigated. 

The case was first broken last December, after roughly a year of undercover investigations which solidified a basis for the suspicions. 

The open investigation has included searches, the seizure of tens of thousands of documents, arrests, and the investigation of around 480 involved persons including senior public figures. Up till now, property and assets equaling an estimated 25 million shekels ($6.5 million) have been seized.

At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that enough evidence had been gathered to prove the criminal activities of 36 suspects.

The central suspects are Kirshenbaum, Misezhnikov, Tamar regional chair Dov Litbinov, Yisrael Beytenu organization headquarters head David Godovsky, former public works CEO Yeshiyahu Beres, former NTA transit system head Alex Viznicher, lobbyist Yisrael Yehoshua, Agriculture Ministry director Rami Cohen, Ezra World Movement director Daniel Elinson, Israel Anti-Drug Authority director Yair Geller, and many others.

Police noted that a number of the involved suspects, included very senior figures, were forced to step down from their posts in light of the evidence gathered against them.

The investigation revealed a systematic operation managed by Kirshenbaum, and those who assisted her, which worked to channel public funds to various organizations in exchange for perks.

The perks included favors for the Yisrael Beytenu party, such as the employment of party activists and “consultation fees” to party members.

“Revealing the system blocked the continued theft of funds from the public treasury and prevented the transfer of monies to future projects,” emphasized the police.

Investigative materials are to be transferred in the coming days to the financial department of the state attorney’s office, for a decision regarding submitting indictments against the suspects.

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