More suspects arrested in voter fraud probe in Beit Shemesh

Nine people have been arrested, questioned and released during police investigation; dozens more have been summoned for questioning.

November 5, 2013 02:37
1 minute read.
Arrest [illustrative].

Handcuffs arrest police crime illustrative 390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Shaya Brandt, a senior election campaign activist for the haredi Koach party in Beit Shemesh, was arrested last week and released on Monday on conditional terms.

The terms include five-days’ house arrest, the police’s National Fraud Unit announced.

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Brandt was arrested on suspicion that he was one of the organizers of haredi activists who allegedly committed voter fraud on Election Day, October 22, as well as on suspicion that he had arranged payments in return for votes.

On Sunday, David Tefilinsky, incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul’s closest adviser, was summoned for questioning by the police and subsequently released.

Abutbul, from Shas, won reelection by fewer than 950 votes.

Still, defeated independent candidate Eli Cohen and his campaign team allege that widespread fraud and voting irregularities cast doubt over the validity of the results. They have called for a full police investigation and, if necessary, repeat elections.

Cohen’s campaign staff have been collating extensive documentation and testimony on incidents of voter fraud.

Nine people have been arrested, questioned and released during the police investigation, including Yaakov Porush, the son of United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush, while dozens more have been summoned for questioning.

On Election Day, approximately 200 government-issued personal ID cards were discovered in two apartments in a residential building.

Cohen’s team is expected to submit its appeal to the election clerk in the Interior Ministry this week.

Analysts say the spate of arrests and summons may mean that the police are looking into the possibility that a conspiracy was arranged by senior figures close to Abutbul to subvert the elections.

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