Police will question MK Binyamin Ben- Eliezer for a second time sometime in the coming days, as part of the probe that began last week into allegations he illegally took millions in unreported funds from a number of people.
Ben-Eliezer, whom investigators questioned for five hours at their Lod headquarters on Friday, was to be questioned again on Saturday night, but police accepted his attorneys’ request for a delay.
At the center of the allegations against Ben-Eliezer is his purchase of a penthouse apartment in Jaffa, which is estimated to be worth several million shekels.
He is suspected of having received hundreds of thousands of shekels, if not more, from oil magnate Avraham Nanikashvili. Ben-Eliezer denied the allegations against him and vowed to clear his name. He also questioned the timing of the probe, coming just days before the presidential election.
Nanikashvili is one of two controlling shareholders in Shemen Oil and Gas Resources Ltd. and was detained and questioned last month during police investigations into corruption at Ashdod Port.
The Ben-Eliezer probe is not, however, believed to be connected to the Ashdod corruption case.
Ben-Eliezer, who has said the money was given to him as a loan, is suspected of not having reported it. He is also being accused of using a foreign change dealer to deposit checks in order to blur his connection to the funds.
The Tax Authority is investigating the failure to report the money, and its representatives are taking part in the investigation alongside detectives from the Investigations and Intelligence Branch of the Israel Police.
The probe was launched after the Attorney-General’s Office received information last week suggesting that there was cause to investigate funds received by Ben-Eliezer, police said.