Dery's Brother Named as Key Suspect in Corruption Investigation

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Arye Dery.
Arye Dery may not have the strength to withstand another police investigation.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Interior Minister Arye Dery's close associate who was questioned by police on Monday was his brother, attorney Shlomo Dery, it was cleared for publication on Wednesday. Shlomo Dery's daughter was also taken in for questioning.

Shlomo Dery, who is also deputy CEO of the Jewish National Fund, is one of several people summoned to testify under caution since the state prosecution launched a criminal investigation against the minister on suspicion of corruption.

The questioning focused on 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 his brother. Five apartments were built on the plot, which is now worth 15 million shekels. The minister reported the sale to the authorities, but the veracity of the report is under investigation. The police are also looking to see whether Shlomo Dery and his children are really the owners of the property or whether the contract of sale is fictitious.

Police investigators have begun questioning under caution the minister's inner circle, including his closest confidants, starting with his brother, who is suspected of a number of serious crimes. It has been suggested that Shlomo Dery was involved in purchasing the properties in question and transferring their deeds.

Last week, the Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit instructed the police to open a criminal investigation against Dery. The decision was made after a meeting between Mandelblit and police representatives, where police told Mandelblit that they wanted to interrogate suspects under caution and not through open depositions.

In regards to the investigation, which centers around the real estate owned by Dery and his relatives, the police believe they have a serious lead which could get them quality information and may produce substantial evidence.

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