The Israel Police has six state witnesses prepared to give evidence in the Yisrael Beytenu corruption scandal, Israel Police Commissioner Insp. Gen. Yohanan Danino said.
Speaking at a cultural event in Beer Sheva, Danino said that the state’s witnesses had revealed to detectives the methods by which a number of public officials allegedly offered and accepted bribe money to promote personal interests.
“According to the materials the detectives managed to find, the investigation will wrap up by the end of May and [the police] will issue their recommendations,” the commissioner said.
It appears that most of the evidence has been obtained from the state witnesses the police brought on board with the investigation to establish a base of evidence against senior Yisrael Beytenu officials and other suspects.
“It looks like the proof is there,” Danino said. “I don’t remember any other case with six state’s witnesses. We have very many suspicions of bribery related to public funds, and not all the suspects are from the Yisrael Beytenu party. We will fight corruption in every way possible for the sake of the citizens of Israel.”
Over 10 indictments are expected to be handed down in the case, in which former Yisrael Beytenu Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum and former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov are both suspects. Kirshenbaum and Misezhnikov, along with other public officials, are suspected of over 15 sub-counts of corruption and diversion of public funds in exchange for favors.
Other officials, including Knesset members from other parties, are expected to be questioned soon in relation to the case.
Danino also said on Saturday that the fact that the investigation into Yisrael Beytenu officials had been exposed shortly before the Knesset election was mere chance.
“The Israel Police places the same high priority on everything related to the war on corruption,” Danino said. “Case No. 242 [the number assigned to the Yisrael Beytenu scandal] is so severe and extensive and so many people are involved that no one in Israel would have wanted us to hold off on the investigation, or on concluding it, until after the election. We decided to launch a public investigation because this was one of the worst scandals there has ever been in Israel.”
Responding to Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman’s statement that the Israel Police were “sex criminals,” Danino said, “I’m not judging anyone for things he said during the election campaign. It’s better for everyone to remember what position he holds, his job and his responsibilities, before making declarations.”