Police Raid PR Agency as Yisrael Beiteinu Corruption Probe Expands

Company officials suspected of bribing public figures in exchange for receiving business from government ministries.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (left) at a Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting in the Knesset on November 10, 2014.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (left) at a Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting in the Knesset on November 10, 2014.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Police raided a public relations agency Monday morning, with some company officials suspected of bribing public figures in exchange for receiving business from government ministries, in the latest development in the Yisrael Beiteinu corruption scandal.

Several suspects have been detained for questioning, including a former cabinet secretary, a well-known PR consultant and two civil servants. The police are expected to decide later Monday whether to extend their remand.

While investigating the Yisrael Beiteinu corruption case, police said they discovered that two civil servants who had worked with the director general of the Agriculture Ministry and various other politicians appear to have allotted funds to the public relations agency and received some of the money in return, as a bribe in payment for sending the agency additional PR projects.

An additional suspect, the owner of a strategic consulting firm, is suspected of receiving government funds that had been allocated to a project run by several nonprofit organizations. In exchange, police said, he made sure the project hired specific PR experts. Police said the nonprofits were not aware of the suspect's actions.

Late last month, sources close to the investigation said the police would be investigating multiple government ministries in the expanding political corruption case that has enmeshed the party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Several officials associated with the party are already in detention or out on bail, and the sources said additional high-ranking public officials could be arrested.

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