Ten people were arrested on Monday morning and nine more were detained on suspicion of taking bribes to skew government construction contracts. The case involves officials both in local government and at the national level, police suspect.
The investigation is being conducted by Lahav 433, an anti-corruption unit within the Israeli police.
The arrests by the fraud squad include two local council leaders, a former mayor, a ministerial aide and an infrastructure builder. The builder had previously been arrested in a different suspected corruption case.
One of the local council leaders reportedly has close ties with ministers in Likud and is also considered to be a talent in whipping up votes. Other suspects also have ties with Likud.
Another of the suspects is a senior executive at Netivei Israel (formerly known as the National Roads Company) who is suspected of making changes to a road-paving tender in exchange for promotion.
The police suspect the ten of involvement in corruption and money-laundering, among other things. Most of the crimes were carried out at government-owned companies engaged in construction and infrastructure, mainly in northern Israel.
Searches were carried out at the Environmental Protection Ministry, but police stated there is no suspicion of ministerial involvement in the investigation.
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At about 4 P.M. several of the suspects will be brought before a Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court judge to extend their detention for further questioning.