Police: Fraud in Meuhedet case involved millions of shekels

“The affair under investigation is wide in scope, both in terms of the number of suspects involved and the complexity of the issues,” police say.

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
New details emerged Tuesday about a police investigation into alleged bribery and nepotism at the Meuhedet Health Fund, a day after a senior fund official was arrested on suspicion of illegally arranging for jobs worth millions of shekels to be awarded to a firm run by relatives.
The official, Yehuda Yekutiel Eliash, the fund’s Jerusalem district manager, had his remand extended until November 14 at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s court on Tuesday, following an agreement reached by police and his attorneys.
During the remand hearing, police representative Ch.-Supt. Lilit Tiber said, “The affair under investigation is wide in scope, both in terms of the number of suspects involved and the complexity of the issues.”
She added that “tens, if not hundreds of millions of shekels were channeled within Meuhedet Health Fund, which insures a million clients. We are only at the start of the investigation.”
A second police representative, Ch.-Supt. Dani Yofe, said, “All the suspects are relatives.”
According to police suspicions, Eliash arranged for his brother- and sister-in-law, Yosef Senior and Merav Senior, to be awarded jobs on behalf of the fund, without opening the jobs to a proper tender.
Yosef Senior runs the Or Yitzhak company, which is tasked with recruiting telemarketing staff for the Meuhedet health fund, police said, and allegedly received millions of shekels in an illegal manner.
Attorneys for Eliash said he denies all criminal wrongdoing, adding that the Or Yitzhak company was selected following an objective appraisal of its costs and services as compared to its competitors.
The attorneys added that internal and external auditors approved the contract between the health fund and Or Yitzhak, and that there was no obligation to issue a tender for the jobs in question.
But Judge Ita Nahman said in her decision on Tuesday, “In light of the case material before me, I believe there is a reasonable suspicion that the suspect was involved in the offenses attributed to him.”
The remands of Yosef and Merav Senior were extended until November 14 and November 11 respectively.
During the court hearings, police revealed that the undercover investigation began with a secret request by the State Comptroller’s Office a year ago On Monday, a police source told the Post that Eliash “arranged tenders for them for years, and ordered work from them. At the same time he bypassed legal tenders." Yosef Senior is also suspected by the Tax Authority of tax evasion on a scale of millions of shekels.
The investigation is being led by the National Fraud Unit and the Lahav 433 unit, as well as the Tax Authority.