Interior minister interrogated again, legal problems deepen

Minister Aryeh Deri and his wife Yaffa were interrogated for a second time as police look into numerous corruption allegations. 

Interior Minister and ultra-orthodox Shas party leader Aryeh Deri and his wife Yaffe were interrogated for a second time Monday by the Lahav 433 division of the Israel Police. This comes after Deri was grilled for 11 hours the previous week as part of a year long investigation into corruption allegations.

Deri is under investigation for money laundering, fraud, breach of trust, theft, fraudulent registration and tax offenses. Suspicions were aroused when reports surfaced of Deri owning multiple homes which were left unreported to tax authorities, including a villa in Moshav Safsufa that is allegedly worth millions. Police have been grilling the Deri’s over the source of the financing for all of the property.

Deri was already interrogated last week for 11 hours, along with 14 other officials, including senior officials from the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, which Aryeh Deri heads. A number of officials from an NGO run by Yaffe Deri were also summoned for questioning, as large contributions by Israel’s economic elite have played a major part in the graft investigation. Police suspect that money earmarked for an NGO was instead misappropriated by the Deris for their personal use.

Shas officials are reportedly negotiating with Deri’s rival, Eli Yishai, to helm the party in the place of Deri should he have to step aside as a result of the probe. Yishai took control of Shas after Deri was sentenced to three years in prison for bribery back in 2000, but he was forced out by Deri in a bitter power struggle in 2015.

By: Tzvi Lev, World Israel News