Israeli AG Opens Investigation Into Aryeh Deri Corruption Allegations

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit opened an investigation into corruption allegations against Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, it was released for publication Wednesday morning.

Deri wrote on his Twitter account, “I spoke with the attorney general tonight and I demanded he lift the gag order against the publication of everything pertaining to my case.

I informed him that I will answer all questions asked of me.”

According to a Channel 2 report Wednesday evening, Deri has been accused of extensive corruption. Details of the case have been censored by a gag order and still cannot be published despite Deri’s Twitter comment.

In a separate context, the Calcalist reported that the deputy chairman of the Jewish National Fund and Aryeh Deri’s brother, Shlomo Deri, participated in a meeting between JNF representatives and Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee representatives regarding the transfer of millions of shekels from the JNF to the government ministry.

Even though Aryeh Deri is the Minister of Galilee and Negev development, his brother, Shlomo, still attended the meeting. Shlomo’s primary job at the JNF is to serve as head of the education committee and does not work on funding and development projects.

The meeting took place last Monday with the JNF Chairman Dani Attar, JNF Director Meir Spiegler, Deputy Chairman Shlomo Deri, and other JNF representatives from the north.

The parties discussed funding for support walls along roads near Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai’s grave. The cost of the project stands at NIS seven million and the meeting was convened to review how JNF could contribute to infrastructure and building projects.

Deri reacted to the allegations on Wednesday morning saying, “I was completely taken by surprise last night by last night’s announcements, and as a result I turned to the attorney general and implored him to remove the gag order. I’m making myself available to anyone investigating, every minute and every hour. My one and only request is to do everythin to refute the allegations.”

He also asked those in charge “to speed up the investigation and to step on the gas a bit so we can get back to our work as soon as possible. I will continue to work as usual.”

Deri was forced to resign from the cabinet in 1993 for accepting $155,000 in bribes while serving as interior minister. He was sentenced in 1999 to four years in prison.

After thirteen years outside of politics, he returned to the leadership of the Shas party in October 2012.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered on Thursday night that a criminal investigation be launched against Shas chairperson and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, upgrading the previous preliminary corruption investigation that he was subject to.

    The decision was made at the end of a meeting that took place today in Mandelblit’s office, after the conclusion of the preliminary police investigation.

    A publication gag order remains in place on all details of the case, and even now publishing additional details regarding the specifics of the criminal investigation is off limits.

    In response, Deri’s office issued a statement saying that “he is ready immediately to answer any question that is asked. Minister Deri will cooperate with law enforcement sources and he is convinced that his responses will clarify that he acted without fault.”

    Aside from Deri, Opposition head and Zionist Union chair MK Yitzhak Herzog is also under a corruption investigation on suspicions of accepting illegal donations while running for the leadership of the Labor party in 2013.

    Herzog has accused members of his own party of instigating the investigation as part of an “election campaign,” and threatened to “kick” back.

    Deri’s investigation is in fact not his first. Just this January he returned to the post of Interior Minister 22 years after he abused the same position by taking bribes.

    His previous corruption landed him in jail for three years, in a sentence that was shortened to just one year on good behavior. Following his conviction and incarceration Deri kept out of politics for a number of years, before returning to his post as Shas chairperson.

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