Police to Probe Suspected Israel Airports Authority Improprieties

A probe has been ordered into senior officials from the Israel Airports Authority, who are suspected of irregular financial activity. Yohanan Danino, head of the police's investigations branch, issued the order Sunday following a complaint by IAA Director General Gabi Ofir. Following preliminary checks, the investigations branch decided to launch a comprehensive probe as "the issue of appointments of state employees by the IAA is of significant interest to the public."

At the beginning of August, Ofir petitioned State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to review "political appointments, nepotism, lack of moral integrity and breach of trust by senior staff members, and the jeopardizing of passengers" at the authority.

The move was part of Ofir's struggle against plans by IAA Board Chairman Ovadia Eli to have him replaced. He also asked to be receive legal protection as a whistleblower on corruption, though this request was rejected.

Ofir alleged that Eli is guilty of "a criminal act of fraud and breach of trust, which includes interfering in a tender," as well as "wrongfully leading a move for the termination of IAA Chairman Gabi Ofir."

Ofir also petitioned the High Court against Transportation Minster Shaul Mofaz and the IAA board of directors on its decision in May to change the procedure for appointing senior officials. Ofir argued the move was made to allow the appointment of family members. IAA Legal Advisor Ariyeh Shaham said, however, that Ofir's opposition to changing the procedure came from its erosion of his authority rather than a desire to prevent nepotism.

Mofaz will decide whether he will dismiss Ofir as IAA director general at a hearing on Tuesday, following a recommendation by the authority's board of directors.