Israel′s interior minister probed for corruption again | News | DW | 30.03.2016
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Israel's interior minister probed for corruption again

Police have launched an investigation into corruption allegations against the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. The investigation is the latest in a series of corruption probes targeting Israel's top lawmakers.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Wednesday confirmed via Twitter reports that he under investigation for alleged corruption.

In the tweet, Deri said he was ready to "answer any questions" brought forward by Israeli authorities.

The leader of Shas, an ultra-Orthodox political party, served as Israel's interior minister between 1988 and 1993.

He was convicted on corruption charges in 2000, although he was released from prison early for good behavior, having only served two years out of his three-year sentence, reported AFP news agency.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the lawmaker said he would continue to serve as Israel's interior minister after denying at a press conference on Wednesday he had committed any crime.

Corruption at the top

Meanwhile, center-left Zionist Union Knesset Member Ksenia Svetlova later tweeted an image of the convicted politician, with an accompanying text stating: "Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in," referencing the third movie in the classic mafia trilogy "The Godfather."

Israel's latest investigation of a senior lawmaker comes on the heels of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's February conviction on two counts of obstruction of justice after he pleaded guilty to pressuring a confidant to not testify against him.

In January, Olmert pleaded guilty in a plea bargain under which the 70-year-old is expected to spend six months in prison and pay a fine of 50,000 Israeli shekels (11,900 euros, $13,000).

The ex-prime minister was convicted in 2014 to six years in prison for accepting bribes amounting to more than 166,000 euros ($181,000) from real estate developers in Jerusalem.

Olmert began his 19-month prison term mid-February.

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