Corruption Scandal: Samaria Head's Arrest Extended

Senior state employees continue to sit in jail, as Yisrael Beytenu scandal develops. Samaria's Mesika denies involvement in bribes.

Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar,

Gershon Mesika
Gershon Mesika
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Rishon Letzion Magistrates Court on Tuesday extended the arrest of several senior state employees suspected of being involved in a massive corruption scandal that was revealed last week, among them prominent members of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

The arrest of Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) CEO Yair Geler was extended till Friday. Efraim Peles, treasurer of the Binyamin Regional Authority in Samaria, is to be released to a ten-day house arrest.

Peles is also forbidden from contacting Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beytenu) or her associates and those involved in the scandal for 30 days. Kirshenbaum and former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, also of Yisrael Beytenu, are the primary figures in the scandal.

The court likewise decided to extend by two days the arrest of Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council head Gershon Mesika and Chaim Ben-Shushan, former CEO of the Corporation for the Development of the Shomron.

Earlier on Tuesday, Messika's lawyer Attorney Gil Dahuah said "he is unaware of any bribes that Faina Kirshenbaum received. All of the transactions that he knows about are transactions for actual services, and nothing related to corruption bribes. There is no corruption here."

A gag order was released on the case last Wednesday morning, revealing that the suspects apparently illegally allocated budgets to NPOs and different sources, transferred funds to regional council organizations, and laundered money through "straw company" fronts.

Yisrael Beytenu has claimed that the scandal is being released as a means to harm their election chances, claims which the police have firmly denied, noting the investigation has been ongoing for more than a year.




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