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Faina Kirschenbaum at court
Photo: Yariv Katz
Former deputy minister Faina Kirschenbaum stands trial
Kirschenbaum stands accused of numerous counts of receiving and asking for bribes, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and tax offenses; her trial begins Thursday.

The trial of former deputy interior minister Faina Kirschenbaum opened Thursday morning in the Tel Aviv District Court. Kirschenbaum served as an MK as part of the Yisrael Beytenu party headed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

 

 

Kirschenbaum faces a long list of serious corruption offenses for her part in a wide scale corruption affair involving other senior public figures. Other defendants will appear in the course of this case, and about 470 witnesses are expected to testify in the trial.

 

The former deputy minister, who was also secretary general of Yisrael Beitenu, is accused of numerous counts of receiving and asking for bribes, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and tax offenses.

 

Kirschenbaum (R) at court with her lawyer (Photo: Yariv Katz)
Kirschenbaum (R) at court with her lawyer (Photo: Yariv Katz)

In addition, the Economic Department of the State Prosecutor's Office filed indictments against nine other people involved in the widespread corruption affair.

 

Alongside the indictment, the State Attorney's Office has asked that NIS 5.7 million worth of Kirschenbaum's property be seized.

 

According to the indictment, from 2006 to December 2014, Kirschenbaum worked systematically and deliberately to commit a series of offenses. In many cases, she allegedly used her position as a civil servant, and particularly her control of state budgets to demand and receive bribes from public institutions, non-profit organizations and private individuals.

 

The bribes were allegedly given in the form of improper benefits for herself or her family, for the Yisrael Beiteinu party and for those close to her or her party.

 

It has been argued that Kirschenbaum often demanded that different individuals and organizations work together with her toward her corruption goals, as well as to conceal them.

 

Kirschenbaum, during her time as a public representative (Photo: Ido Erez) (Photo: Ido Erez)
Kirschenbaum, during her time as a public representative (Photo: Ido Erez)

 

Kirschenbaum's lawyer, Giora Aderet, said at the hearing that the former deputy minister is expected to deny the charges against her.

 

"There is huge amounts of case material here, the investigation continued over a very long period of time. We therefore request a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the case," he said.

 

During the opening of the trial, the State Prosecutor's Office signed a plea bargain with one of the defendants in the case, Efi Peles, treasurer of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council. He was suspected of bribery and money laundering, but was convicted only of breach of trust within the framework of the arrangement, and charged with community service.

 

"We welcome the fact that the State Prosecutor's Office accepted our position that Peles did not commit bribery and money laundering offenses," his lawyer said.

 

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