Coalition chairman who was forced to quit refusing to answer police questions

David Bitan declined to be hospitalized for health issues, preferring to see through the investigation phase.

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December 24, 2017 17:50
1 minute read.
Former coalition chairman David Bitan

Former coalition chairman David Bitan. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Former coalition chairman Likud MK David Bitan was questioned on Sunday at the Lahav 433 headquarters in Lod over his involvement in the Rishon Lezion corruption probe.

Bitan, who is suspected of accepting bribe money, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, was questioned for five hours in his fourth round of questioning.

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Channel 2 News reported that Bitan refused to answer any of the investigators’ questions.

It is suspected that Bitan advanced the interests of organized- crime figures, such as Hussam Jarushi, in exchange for assisting him in erasing alleged debts to the criminal entities.

Bitan was reportedly questioned over his relationship with other suspects in the probe that was dubbed “Case 1802.”

Bitan was also asked about the funding for his daughter’s wedding that took place in August. It was said the some of the bribe money was delivered then.

Bitan’s wife Hagit was also questioned on Sunday for over two hours. In her last questioning, she was asked about some NIS 2 million that was found in her bank account, to which she replied that she didn’t know how the money got there.

“My husband was the one who deposited the money there,” Channel 2 News reported her as saying. “I have no idea how it got there.”

Channel 2 News also reported that the investigators asked Hagit Bitan for the guest list from her daughter’s wedding, but she said that her husband has it.

It is assumed that she did so because of his parliamentary immunity that prevents police from forcing him to hand it over or from searching his belongings.

Bitan resigned last week from his position as coalition chairman and was replaced by his faction colleague MK David Amsalem.

Bitan’s attorney Efraim Dimri said on Sunday on Radio 103FM that Bitan is feeling unwell and was advised by the Knesset medical doctor to be hospitalized, but decided to show up to the questioning nonetheless.

“He preferred to decline the offer to be hospitalized and to continue with the investigation,” he said. “He will receive the needed medical attention afterward.”


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