(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Police on Monday arrested and detained for questioning over 20 people, including a former Knesset member and senior officials from a major government owned company, accused of bribery, money laundering, and fraud, in what police are calling one of the largest corruption cases in Israel in recent years.
The allegations against current and former officials of Netivei Israel – National Transport Infrastructure Company LTD – revolve around a sophisticated, methodical system they set up for shifting vast amounts of public money to cronies and associates, police said Monday.
Police suspect that executives took bribes from contractors in exchange for rewarding them government tenders involving tens of millions of shekels in public money. Conspirators also allegedly awarded tenders in exchange for their associates receiving jobs from the contractors.
Michael Gorlovsky, an MK for the Likud from 2003 to 2006, detained on Monday, is suspected of extortion, money laundering, conspiracy, fraud, theft, and counterfeiting documents, his arrest warrant said.
The suspects also include two senior employees suspected of bribery. A number of the remaining suspects, who cannot yet be identified, are also involved in Case 242, “The Yisrael Beitenu case.”
Two suspects are former top officials in Netivei Israel, both arrested as part of Case 242, with police naming them among the suspects whom they found evidence against.
A number of suspects are no longer with the company, but police said they suspect they used their connections with executives to continue to influence operations and reward contracts and other favors to associates.
Out of 18 suspects arrested on Monday, six are current or former employees of Netivei Israel and 12 are contractors.
The case does not include any suspected wrongdoing in regards to the construction of the Tel Aviv Light Rail, which is the responsibility of NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd., a separate corporation from Netivei Israel.
The allegations came to light as part of an undercover investigation that stretched on for several months, police said.