Israeli Ministry Suspends Official Charged with Receiving Bribe

Israeli Health Minister Moshe Shapiro said today that the Ministry had decided to suspend without pay Yehuda Spiegel, the Ministry’s Deputy Director-General, who was arrested last week on charges of receiving a bribe.

The suspended official had been in charge of planning for millions of pounds worth of hospital construction. Various building firms were said to have been involved in the alleged bribery. A lawyer and three building contractors were charged with the official. The five defendants were released Monday on bail.

Yizhak Rafael, the Deputy Minister, meanwhile denied today a statement by one of the defendants, Sholmo Gur, who asserted that Mr. Rafael had awarded him a contract for supervision of construction of the Tel Giborim Hospital. Police said their investigation into the case, in which Mr. Spiegel was accused of taking a bribe of 40,000 pounds ($13,300) was being completed and that their findings would be submitted soon to the district attorney’s office.

In another development, the National Religious Party, of which Spiegel is a leading member, issued a statement denouncing “insinuations” aimed at involving the party in the case and “discrediting” it. The statement said that the party would take legal action against all persons responsible for disseminating such slanders.

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