Israel Police Arrest Top Council Officials for Alleged Corruption, Sex Offenses

Arrest of 12 suspects comes in wake of undercover investigation of body that runs communities near Jerusalem.

The building housing Mateh Yehuda Regional Council headquarters.
Ran Bar Yaacov

Several senior officials in the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council were arrested Monday morning on suspicion of corruption. Two of those arrested are also suspected of sex offenses against several women.

Police suspect that council officials, in conjunction with other people, took bribes to advance the interests of construction firms working in towns under the council’s jurisdiction. Other possible charges include fraud, falsifying corporate documents, tax offenses and money laundering.

Police had been conducting an undercover investigation of the regional council, in cooperation with the Antitrust Authority and the Tax Authority, for some time. On Monday, 12 suspects were arrested and eight others were detained for questioning.

Police also searched the houses and offices of the suspects, including the regional council’s offices and the offices of one construction firm allegedly involved in the affair. Computers and documents were confiscated in these raids. Police haven’t yet decided which, if any, of the suspects it will ask the court to allow them to keep in detention.

One of the senior officials arrested yesterday had been investigated by the police in the past in connection with a different corruption case.

The Mateh Yehuda Regional Council administers a few dozen communities, among them kibbutzim, moshavim, and other rural settlements, located in the vicinity of Jerusalem.