Police investigators suspect that a portion of the illegal funds, which went toward funding the Israeli-Arab political party Balad campaign, were smuggled into the country from abroad in suitcases filled with cash. The suspicion comes in the wake of arrests made against high ranking officials in the party who are being investigated for corruption.
In the coming days, Knesset members are expected to give testimony to police following confirmation from Attorney General Avihay Mandelblitt. Meanwhile, the magistrate court in Haifa extended the remand of Izz al-Din Badran and Murad Haddad for another five days. The court also extended the detention of a Balad lawyer, Abd al-Fattah until Wednesday.
The investigation began following information received from a State Comptroller report and culminated om Sunday with the arrests of 20 individuals connected to the Balad party, including six lawyers. The party and organizers are suspected of using funds which arrived from Arab countries, such as Qatar, to finance political activities.
According to information obtained by investigators, millions of shekels made their way to the party's coffers from various organizations around the Arab world. The money was smuggled into Israel by a variety of means, including suitcases full of cash.
According to investigators from the Fraud Investigations Unit, the party created a fake registry of donations for thousands of families who gave so-called "contributions," despite never having done so. Investigators allege this fake registry was used to conceal the illegal funds which arrived in Israel in an effort to create an appearance of innocuous contributions. Evidence of the illicit activities were strengthened by the testimonies provided by families contacted by police who stated that they never made a donation and were unaware that their names made it to the registry.