Liberman’s Lieutenant Indicted for Bribes

Faina Kirschenbaum, the former director general of Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, who served as MK and as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs for her party, was indicted on Tuesday morning for taking bribes, along with nine other party activists who wre indicted for various acts of corruption. Kirschenbaum retired from politics in January 2015 after a police investigation into corruption.

Tuesday’s indictments include more than 10 cases uncovered during an investigation by the National Fraud Unit of the Israel Police, headed by the late Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha, in cooperation with the Yahalom Unit of the Tax Authority, with assistance from the Prohibition of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Authority, accompanied by a team of attorneys from the economic investigations department headed by Dan Eldad.

About a year ago, police recommended an indictment of Yisrael Beiteinu’s former tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov, on bribery, fraud and breach of trust, possession of dangerous drugs and the disruption of court proceedings, but Misezhnikov was not among those indicted Tuesday.

The indictments state that from 2006 until the launch of the overt police investigation in December 2014, Kirschenbaum operated “in a systematic and planned, sometimes sophisticated, manner in carrying out a series of offenses. Thus, in many cases, Kirschenbaum used her role as public servant and her status, especially her control of state budgets in order to demand and take bribes from public institutions, non-profit organizations and private individuals.”

The indictments add that “Kirschenbaum often asked, spurred or demanded from other public officials, heads of public bodies, directors of associations and private individuals to work together with her to realize her improper goals and to conceal them.”

“In some cases, she did receive the bribe she demanded, directly to her or to her children or to those close to her, in the form of money, items or favors,” the indictments also state, noting that in some cases, her bribe system was more complex: over the years, Kirschenbaum has turned to various bodies that asked her to promote their budgets, whereby “Kirschenbaum made it clear to those individuals that she was willing to budget them, but in return Kirschenbaum and [David (Daud) Godovsky, director of the organization wing of the Yisrael Beiteinu party] demanded, on various occasions, bribery in the form of a significant share of the budgets received.”

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