Israel Police Have Six State’s Witnesses in Yisrael Beiteinu Graft Case

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party is suspected of siphoning off public money. The investigation will end within a month.

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Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino speaking in Be'er Sheva, April 18, 2015.
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino speaking in Be'er Sheva, April 18, 2015. Credit: Be'er Sheva municipality
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

The police have six state’s witnesses in the Yisrael Beiteinu corruption affair and the evidence will be sent to the State Prosecutor’s Office next month, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said Saturday.

“It’s one of the biggest corruption cases there has been. There are suspects, and not only from Yisrael Beiteinu,” Danino said at a Shabbat cultural event in Be’er Sheva.

According to the commissioner, “We already have six state’s witnesses in this case. You have to understand what we’re talking about — we have many suspicions of corruption. The investigation will end toward mid-May.”

Yisrael Beiteinu, which is led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has been accused of improperly using public money to benefit the party. In one of the latest big developments, the police raided a public relations agency in late January, with some company officials suspected of bribing public figures in exchange for business from government ministries.

The investigation became public in the run-up to the March 17 general election.

“We took into account every consideration, including the effect on the election, and we decided to begin an open investigation. You can trust us that we considered every aspect. It’s not an autonomous decision by the police,” Danino said.

Regarding the incident in Jerusalem Wednesday night in which a man was killed and a young woman seriously injured when struck by a car, Danino said the Palestinian driver probably intended to harm Jews.

“It was a terrible event,” Danino said. “It can be said today with a strong basis that this was a terrible terror attack.”

The police had said Friday they had “increasing suspicions” that the 37-year-old Palestinian from the Anata refugee camp had sought to commit a terror attack.

Danino also said the police were taking action regarding the allegations of sexual harassment by top officers.

“The police have gone through a long and very hard process from the time we defined the issue as a crisis period. I’ve set up a polygraph unit that has checked more than 600 officers and asked them everything,” he said.

“All the questions that have to be asked are being asked . We’re making a change that will be for the long term. We will be an example for every public agency in Israel.”

Finally, Danino said his successor should come from within the organization. “I’ve spent more than 33 years in the police. Every year in the police has helped me in my role as commissioner,” he said.

“I don’t think that the police commissioner is just another role — it’s one of the toughest jobs in Israel. And in our top ranks we have excellent commanders suited for the job.”

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