PETACH TIKVA - The head of the Foreign Ministry’s Europe division, Roni Yedidya, was questioned Monday by the police’s international crime squad in connection to the bribery scandal involving Israel’s consul in The Netherlands, Uriel Yitzhaki.
Yedidya, who served as division head in 2003, was questioned on suspicion of assisting Yitzhaki and illegally issuing a passport.
Earlier, the Petach Tikva Magistrates Court extended Yitzhaki's remand for three days.
This is the second time police have extended his
detention, following his arrest last week at Ben Gurion International Airport upon his arrival to Israel.
Yitzhaki is suspected of abusing his authority as consul and supplying Israeli passports to those not eligible for them, in exchange for large sums of money and perks.
Police attorney Yael Reichert said she had originally requested a remand period of ten days, as Yitzhaki has refused to cooperate during questioning.
She said the investigation is scheduled to continue both in Israel and in Holland, despite the Pesach holiday.
“What started as a preliminary investigation with suspicious findings, now resembles a snowball that keeps on rolling and gathering snow,” she said.
Additional evidence has been collected, which indicates other bribery cases, theft and additional sexual harassment complaints by consular workers, she said.
Yitzhaki is also suspected of receiving bribes
from the Interdin transportation company during his tenure as consul.
Right to remain silent
Yitzhaki was questioned in court Monday about his connections to bribery suspicions and his acquaintance with a female embassy worker who filed the initial complaint.
Yitzhaki allegedly had an affair with the woman, which according to him, ended badly.
He refused to answer questions regarding whether he had received benefits and money in return for supplying Israeli passports, saying only that his lawyer advised him to remain silent.
Yitzhaki’s lawyer Yaakov Weinroth said he had requested the court look into alternative detention options.
However, Reichert said that as there are more than a dozen pending investigations into the matter, both in Israel and Holland, it was feared that Yitzhaki may attempt to disrupt them should he be freed.
"We are talking about a man with many ties and gathered evidence indicates that he may try to disrupt the investigation, and influence his sentencing in Israel and abroad,” one police official said.
However, the court only partially accepted the police’s request and agreed to extend his remand for three days, instead of the requested ten.