Dery Associate Questioned Over Real Estate Deal With Shas Leader

Several associates of the interior minister have been asked to give testimony since the police criminal investigation against the interior minister was launched.

Arye Dery at a conference in Yeruham.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

A close associate of Interior Minister Arye Dery was questioned for several hours on Monday by the police fraud unit. He was one of several people to have been summed to testify under caution since the state prosecution approved a police request to launch a criminal investigation against the minister on suspicion of corruption.

Among those being questioned are Dery’s closest associates and confidants. Monday’s questioning focused on suspicions relating to the purchase of real estate and the transfer of legal titles. Among other issues, police are looking into the sale of a plot of land by Dery to the associate.

Five apartments were built on the plot, each worth 15 million shekels today. The sale was reported by Dery to the authorities as required, but the veracity of that report is now being investigated.

The issue is whether the associate and his children are the true owners of these apartments or whether the contract was a fictitious one.

Last week, in the shadow of a police investigation into alleged corruption, Dery canceled a mass rally of Shas supporters that was set to take place in Jerusalem in at the end of April. Dery and his advisers feared the rally, for the party's rabbinical and political leadership, would turn into a protest demonstration of his supporters against the attorney general, legal system and police.