Senior Israel Lands Authority official, former MK, ensnared in police corruption probe

Koolanu party says investigation proves that ILA should be broken up.

Israel Police logo (photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel Police logo
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A former Knesset member and a senior official from the Israel Lands Authority were brought in for questioning by police on Thursday, both on suspicion of fraud and breach of trust.
The investigation has been in progress for more than six months police said, and it focuses on “several cases in which the official violated conflict of interest regulations in dealing with cases that were brought to his attention.”
The suspicions mainly revolve around decisions the official made regarding a particular real estate company he had ties to, and several projects the firm had been involved in. The ex-Knesset member, now an attorney, is suspected of similar conflict of interest violations for aiding the ILA administrator.
Keren Koren, one of the attorneys representing the former MK, said that she will not comment on an investigation that just begun, but emphasized nonetheless that the case does not involve bribery allegations as had been reported earlier.
Both suspects were questioned under caution by police about the alleged breach of trust on Thursday, shortly after detectives executed a search warrant, including confiscating documents, at the authority’s Jerusalem office. The investigation has been carried out in collaboration with the attorney- general and the State Prosecutor’s Office since it began, police said on Thursday.
“The new affair at the Israel Lands Authority proves what we’ve been saying for many weeks and Israel’s citizens have felt for years: The Israel Lands Authority is at the end of its road,” a statement by Moshe Kahlon’s Koolanu said.
The party has put plans to break up the ILA at the center of its platform, and reiterated its stance that the ILA’s monopoly on land is behind the high housing costs.
“We repeat our demand: We must break apart the monopoly of the Israel Lands Authority that has for years blocked the construction market in Israel,” the statement said.