AG Avihai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan on Monday decided there was sufficient evidence to indict Former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, former Deputy Minister Faina Kirshenbaum, and fourteen additional senior members of public institutions pending a hearing, Walla reported. According to a State Prosecution announcement, Misezhnikov and Kirshenbaum are likely to face corruption charges.
The initial charges were revealed in the 2013 State Auditor report on Misezhnikov’s conduct regarding various bids estimated at millions of dollars under his authority, which he was accused of steering towards people in his close circle. The investigation revealed that Misezhnikov approved million dollar budgets for projects on condition that they would employ his confidant Julia Root, at the time he was serving as Tourism Minister. The Auditor’s report also accused Misezhnikov’s chief of staff at the ministry, Limor Barzilai, of knowingly interfering with the investigation.
The State Attorney’s Office Economic Department told the legal representative of 16 suspects on Monday that their idictment is being considered pending a hearing. Misezhnikov is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, possession and use of a dangerous drug, and obstruction of justice. Deputy Minister of the Interior and the Secretary General of the Israel Beiteinu party Kirshenbaum is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, money laundering, and tax evasions.
Among the additional suspects is Director of the Organization Department of the Israel Beiteinu party David Godovsky, former Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture Rami Cohen and his wife Batya Cohen, Tamar Regional Council Head Dov Litvinoff, Ayalim Association Chairman Matan Dahan, and his deputy Danny Glicksberg.
This represents the culmination of the two-year long “Case 242” that was conducted by the Investigations and Intelligence Division Lahav 433 of the National Fraud Unit, which involved the investigation of 480 individuals, the seizing of tens of thousands of documents, arrests, and more than 900 statements. So far police have also seized property in an estimated value of $6.65 million. Police have so far recruited seven state witnesses, including Gershon Mesika, who resigned his post as head of the Shomron Regional Council.