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A 25-year-old Indian citizen was illegally working as a live-in housekeeper in the Herzliya Pituah home of former Herzliya mayor Eli Landau, immigration officials said yesterday.

The woman was detained for questioning and sent to the Population and Immigration Administration official responsible for border control, who is expected to give her a hearing and decide whether to deport her.

Landau, a former chairman of the Israel Electric Corporation, said he was not the woman's employer.

"First of all, she has a valid work permit," Landau said. "Two, she doesn't work for me. Three, the Interior Ministry inspectors saw her visa, spoke to her employer, and let her go."

The Population and Immigration Administration is investigating whether Landau employed the woman illegally, and he could face a fine of tens of thousands of shekels.

Immigration officials said they recently apprehended a foreign citizen illegally employed by Landau's sons.

Inspectors from the Interior Ministry's Oz immigration unit found the Indian woman in Landau's basement, said Adi, an intelligence coordinator for the unit. He said they rang the doorbell, then climbed over the fence and into the yard.

What she told officials was not consistent with what Landau said, Adi told Haaretz.

"He said she had lived in his house for about a month, but other than that pretty much distanced himself," said the intelligence coordinator. "He denied she cleans for him or works for him and that he pays her."

The woman told inspectors she has lived in the house for a year and is paid about $1,000 to clean it 16 hours a day.

Immigration officials said she entered the country as a caregiver, and the law allows her to stay only as long as she continues working for her original employer.

"Any foreign subject who enters Israel with a caregiver visa and is not with his registered employee is breaking the Entry to Israel Law," said Adi.