Beny Steinmetz Associate Arrested Upon Return To Israel

Police arrested a businessman close to billionaire Beny Steinmetz Thursday night when he landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on his return from an overseas trip.

Steinmetz himself was arrested last week along with another associate, strategic consultant Tal Silberstein.

They and others are suspected of bribing a foreign official, forging documents, engaging in corporate fraud and breach of trust, and money laundering.

After several days in detention, both men were released to house arrest on Friday.

Several other people were arrested, questioned as suspects in the case and then released that same day.

They include David Granot, who was recently appointed acting chairman of Bezeq; Shaul Elovitch, whose Eurocom company controls Bezeq; attorney Doron Levy of the Amit, Pollak, Matalon law firm; and Asher Avidan, president of the mining company BSGR.

Police later arrested Udi Neta, the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, as well.

Police believe the suspects worked systematically with Steinmetz to create fictitious contracts and deals, inter alia in real estate, in a foreign country in order to launder money.

On Wednesday, police told the court there had been a dramatic development in the investigation, but so far, little has been made public about the case, and it’s not clear exactly what the suspects are suspected of having done.

The judge agreed to keep some of the suspects in detention on the basis of a classified report.

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