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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Shas MK Shlomo Benizri and Rabbi Reuven Elbaz were indicted on Wednesday morning at the Jerusalem District Court on charges of taking and mediating bribes, fraud, and breach of trust.
The indictment charged Benizri with enabling foreign worker contractor Moshe Sela to import foreign workers into Israel in exchange for bribes and other benefits.
According to the indictment, Benizri leaked information to the contractor regarding foreign worker quotas determined by the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, at the time when the MK served as its minister.
In return, Sela allegedly provided Benizri with financial support, including a sum as high as $200,000. He was also charged with buying the former minister furniture valued at NIS 7,000, and paying NIS 28,000 for Benizri's defense attorney in a slander lawsuit. The indictment lists several other perks that Sela allegedly provided or paid for.
Benizri was also charged with improper political appointments of Sela's associates into positions under the MKs jurisdiction as minister.
The Shas MK vehemently denied the charges and accused the State Attorney's Office of conducting a war against him using mafia methods.
He announced that he did not intend to resign from the Knesset. He added that he was not informed of the indictment, and that he found out about it from the media.
Just last week, another Shas MK, Yair Peretz, was convicted of falsifying academic documents for his BA, which he claimed he completed at Burlington University.