JERUSALEM (Feb. 3)
Interior Minister Arye Deri will face questioning by police investigators starting next week on his alleged role in fraudulent activities going back several years.
The interrogation, expected to last for two months, follows Deri’s surprise announcement earlier in the week that he was no longer maintaining his right to remain silent.
Deri, head of the Orthodox Sephardic Shas party, has been under investigation for the past three years both for alleged fraud committed under his supervision at the Interior Ministry and for suspected improprieties in his own personal finances.
Until now, Deri refused to cooperate with the investigation, although he was summoned three times for questioning by police.
Police will reportedly question Deri about the allegedly improper diversion of public funds to religious organizations.
Newspaper reports have accused Deri’s Interior Ministry, under the previous government, of allocating funds to certain municipalities with the understanding that part of the funds would later be given over to religious foundations affiliated with Shas.
The police apparently will also question Deri about the source of funds used to purchase apartments and pay for overseas travel.