(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Police expect to question more suspects in the so-called Yisrael Beytenu scandal, National Police Chief Yohanan Danino said Monday, during an interview with Israel Radio.
Danino said that in recent days investigators have gathered further evidence against the central suspects in the case, and that in the coming days he expects detectives to question additional suspects.
The “Yisrael Beytenu case” broke in late December of last year. Since then, dozens of people have been detained and arrested, including public officials from a number of local authorities.
The corruption case includes at least 15 smaller cases, most involving bribery and/or fraud and breach of trust.
At the center of the case is former Yisrael Beytenu MK and deputy interior minister Faina Kirschenbaum, and other senior party officials and former MKs. In most of the subsidiary cases, state funds are alleged to have been sent to local authorities and NGOs with a commission kicked back up the chain to Kirschenbaum and her associates, who were in charge of the allocations of funds. In other cases, the suspects are believed to have secured jobs for associates and or government tenders for state-funded projects.
Danino was asked about the investigation into allegations made by Meni Naftali, the former manager of the Prime Minister’s Residence, and said that police do suspect wrongdoing, but nothing on a level approaching that of major cases against elected officials in the past.
In addition, Danino said that the recent spate of sex scandals involving senior police officers is part of a problem that stretched back years and that the police should have begun dealing with it earlier.
In recent meetings with top police brass, Danino has discussed ways to get the organization out of what they see as a full-scale crisis. They plan to do so largely by focusing on increasing awareness among officers about the issue of sexual harassment and how to conduct themselves, and also working with female officers to try to understand the scope of the problem.
Danino has said that solving the problem could be a yearslong process.