Israel: Ex-deputy minister, other Yisrael Beytenu officials indicted in massive graft case

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A former Israeli interior deputy minister, Faina Kirshenbaum, has been indicted on corruption charges, including bribery, fraud and money laundering. Nine other officials linked to the Yisrael Beytenu political party were also charged.

Prosecutors allege Kirshenbaum used her position as deputy minister to embezzle millions of dollars.

According to the indictment, Kirshenbaum “used her public position, the influence it carries and specifically the control it wields over budgetary appropriations in order to take improper benefits for herself, her close relatives, for the Yisrael Beytenu party and its close associates.”

Kirshenbaum stepped down from office after allegations first surfaced in 2015.

Ten people in total, among them top former local politicians and party officials, were charged with a range of financial felonies in what the Justice Ministry described as “the first round” of indictments. A number of other public officials are expected to face charges in the coming weeks, including former Yisrael Beytenu minister Stas Misezhnikov.

Next to Kirshenbaum, the most senior Yisrael Beytenu official indicted Tuesday was former party headquarters chief David Godovsky, who faces charges of bribery, money laundering, conspiracy to commit a crime, extortion, and tax offenses.

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