Police probes Interpol head

The Police Investigations Unit (PIU) is investigating charges that Dep.-Cmdr. Asher Ben-Artzi, the head of Interpol in Israel, helped criminals obtain entry visas to the US from unnamed officials in the American consulate in Tel Aviv, a Justice Ministry spokeswoman said Monday. The investigation has been proceeding for the past two months. Ben-Artzi was ordered to take a forced vacation two weeks after the investigation began. The spokeswoman said Ben-Artzi is suspected of having committed fraud and breach of faith. A more detailed report says he is being investigated on suspicion that he received gifts of antiquities in return for his alleged intervention with the US consulate. Meanwhile, the US Embassy spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, "We have not been approached for any information and I am not aware of any police request, but obviously we would be entirely cooperative if asked." Ben-Artzi has served in his current position for eight years. A police spokesman refused to provide details about the affair to the Post, saying that the PIU was a branch of the Justice Ministry. However, some media outlets reported that the police are also considering taking disciplinary measures against Ben-Artzi.