Police on Monday arrested two senior Foreign Ministry
employees on suspicions of illicit financial dealings. One worker is suspected of receiving hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of services and products, and illegally billed
the ministry. The other official is suspected of authorizing the scam.
The two were arrested by Israel
Police's National Fraud Squad
following a covert investigation. The court will determine later in the day whether or not to extend the arrest period for the two suspects while police continue to investigate.
Police officials have called the affair severe in light of the people involved and the possible ramifications.
Information obtained by the investigators indicates that the two suspects have been illegally billing the ministry for years.
The evidence shows that the two veteran employees ordered vast amounts of meat for the family of one of them. Police also found bottles of wine and other products at the home of one of the senior employees.
According to suspicions, one of the workers vacationed with his family at a hotel on Lake Kinneret
at the ministry's expense on at least two occasions.
Investigators are also looking into the possibility that contractors employed by the ministry did private work for the one of the suspect's family members.
The second man, whose position allows him to authorize expenditures in the name of the ministry, authorized services and products despite knowing they were intended for the two's personal usage.
After enough evidence was collected, head of the police investigation unit, Maj.-Gen. Meni Yitzhaki,
authorized the arrest of the two officials and a police search of their homes.
In response, the Foreign Ministry said that an investigation against the two was opened a number of months ago in wake of complaints filed by ministry workers: "After the ministry's general manager examined the complaints and collected enough evidence, it was decided to pass the findings on to the police, and we are fully cooperating with (the police)."
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report
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