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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson spent another eight grueling hours being questioned under caution Tuesday, but police said they were certain that they would have to question the Kadima minister at least once more.
This latest round of questioning came a day before Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz was expected to hold a meeting to decide if the evidence against the minister is sufficient to require his suspension from the ministry.
The finance minister is currently under investigation for allegedly embezzling funds from organizations he headed. Hirchson will face another barrage of questioning later this week. Last week, he was questioned under caution for seven hours, but police were forced to limit their questioning, as the finance minister was under pressure to engage in eleventh-hour negotiations to prevent the planned general strike.
Hirchson could face charges including fraudulent acquisition, violation of public trust, managerial theft, and authorizing false accounting statements.
The Movement for Quality Government watchdog group has stepped up its actions against the embattled minister this week, holding a demonstration outside of the Finance Ministry's Jerusalem offices on Tuesday, calling for Hirchson to suspend himself until the investigation against him was concluded.
The group argued that the fact that Hirchson remained at his post despite the serious allegations against him seriously damaged public confidence in the government.
The Movement for Quality Government also asked for an interim injunction to prohibit Hirchson from taking part in matters related to budget allocations to law enforcement agencies, particularly the Public Security Ministry.
Police said that they have not yet scheduled the additional questioning session for Hirchson. Currently, investigators have been probing both Hirchson's and his son Ofer's bank accounts to determine who funneled money to whom, and for what purpose.
Differing accounts have prompted a variety of scenarios, including that Hirchson was trying to pay off his son's gambling debts, or that Ofer Hirchson was using his father's account to evade paying taxes.
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