Top official from Ashkelon municipality arrested

A senior official from the Ashkelon municipality is among five suspects arrested by police on Tuesday as part of a major corruption probe that also involves allegations of sexual assault by the official against multiple female subordinates.
A police source said Tuesday that the allegations involve hundreds of thousands of shekels allegedly paid in bribes by at least two contractors to the official and other municipality officials, in order to advance building projects subject to city approval.
Police suspect some of the alleged bribes were also used as “hush money” to pay off a woman who made sexual harassment allegations against the official.
Police believe that a number of women were victimized by the official, but a police official was not able to give an exact number on Tuesday.
In addition to the municipality official, the suspects arrested include the official’s brother, and two local Ashkelon contractors.
The investigation has been carried out by police for several months, but only went public on Tuesday. The allegations detailed in the case resemble bribery claims that have been made time and again against municipality officials in locales across Israel.
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