Interior Minister Aryeh Deri one of two Israeli pols under investigation for corruption


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri identified himself as one of two high-ranking Israeli politicians who are under investigation for suspected criminal behavior.

Identifying himself on Tuesday night, Deri called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to request a lifting of the gag order.

“I notified him that I will cooperate fully with investigators and answer every question they ask,” tweeted Deri, who resigned from the same position in 1993 after being indicted on fraud and bribery charges, and spent nearly two years in jail.

The existence of the separate investigations, both in the preliminary stages and under gag orders, was reported in several Israeli media outlets on Tuesday night. The other politician has not been named.

Few details have been released since the investigations were launched a few months ago, according to Haaretz.

Deri, who was appointed in January to serve as interior minister, said at a news conference Wednesday that he was surprised by the new allegations against him.

In 2000, under his conviction for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, he was sentenced to three years in prison and barred from public service in the political arena for seven years. He was reinstated as the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party chairman in 2013.

Deri has immunity as a Knesset lawmaker.

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