Israel, Russia fighting corruption

Israeli authorities can investigate the source of FSU immigrants' capital.

The state comptrollers of Israel and Russia signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday which could help Israeli authorities fighting corruption investigate the source of the large sums of money some immigrants from the Soviet Union have brought into the country. "We may be able to receive help from elements inside and outside the country on this matter," said State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss after he and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Stepashin, signed the memorandum of understanding at Jerusalem's Inbal Hotel. Lindenstrauss added that the issue of the Russian "oligarchs" had not come up in the discussions between the two officials, but that in the future they could discuss any matter. The ceremony took place at the same time as Russian tycoon Arkady Gaydamak was questioned for the third time by the Serious and International Crimes Unit (SICU) National Unit in Petah Tikva. Stepashin, who in the past has served as prime minister, head of the secret services, justice minister, interior minister and deputy speaker of the Duma, was also asked whether Russia intended to investigate how weapons sold to Syria ended up in the hands of the Hizbullah. "We will ask the Russian security authorities about this and get answers from them," replied Stepashin. He added that it was Kremlin policy not to allow weapons sold to another country to end up in the hands of a third party. If Israeli intelligence had any information on the matter, they should hand it over to Russian authorities, he said. As head of Russia's secret services, he continued, he had much contact with the Mossad. On another matter, Lindenstrauss said that his first of the three reports his office is preparing on the way the government carried out the disengagement from the Gaza Strip will be ready for publication on Sunday, but must still be reviewed by security authorities to determine what, if any, of the material was classified.