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(photo credit: Courtesy)
A senior aide to Likud minister Yuval Steinitz and the mayor of Afula and his deputy were arrested on Monday as part of the so-called Yisrael Beytenu corruption case.
Afula Mayor Yitzhak Miron is accused of approving appointments in the municipality in exchange for funding sent to the city. One of these appointments included the Afula deputy mayor, Boris Yudis, according to testimony given by police in court on Monday.
An officer told Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court that the investigation involved NIS 4 million sent by the state to the Afula Municipality, in exchange for appointments, including that of Yudis.
At the end of the hearing, the court ordered the suspects kept in custody until Wednesday, due to fears that they may try to tamper with the investigation.
On Monday morning, officers from the anti-fraud squad raided the house of Steinitz’s chief of staff, Rami Tayeb, as well as the home and city hall offices of Miron and Yudis.
Tayeb, who also serves as the head of the Afula branch of the Likud, is suspected of brokering bribes.
The entire arrangement is alleged to have been orchestrated by Yisrael Beytenu chief of staff David “Daoud” Godovsky.
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Police consider Godovsky the “right-hand man” of MK Faina Kirschenbaum, the Yisrael Beytenu MK and deputy interior minister at the center of the corruption investigation, which as of Monday involved more than 15 independent corruption cases.
Kirschenbaum was questioned for several hours by anti-fraud unit police in Lod, and also announced that she will be stepping down from public life.
Steinitz released a statement saying that he “trusts the law enforcement authorities to do their job well and hopes that no wrongdoing will be found in his political adviser’s behavior.”
Likud officials expressed concern about the party being harmed by the scandal the way it has hurt Yisrael Beytenu.
Veteran Likud activist and former Jerusalem branch chairman Yisrael Yehoshua has also been implicated.
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