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Former Israeli minister starts jail sentence for fraud, breach of trust

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Stas Misezhnikov, a member of Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman's ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

A former Israeli minister has started serving a 15-month jail sentence for fraud and breach of trust.

Stas Misezhnikov, a member of Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman's ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, started serving time on Sunday as public pressure increases to demand action against "corrupt" authorities.

Misezhnikov was sentenced to prison in October for handing one million shekels ($280,000) in financial support to a student festival. Misezhnikov, who was tourism minister from 2009 to 2013, also secured a job at the event for a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship.

In August, Yisrael Beitenu secretary general Faina Kirshenbaum, who was deputy interior minister from 2013 to 2015, was charged with corruption, breach of trust, fraud and money laundering.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself faces two separate graft probes.

On Friday, Israeli police investigators questioned Netanyahu at his residence in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds again over suspicions he received illegal gifts from a number of wealthy businessmen. It was the seventh time that Israeli police investigators grilled Netanyahu for corruption. The last round of questioning took place on November 19 and lasted for four hours.

Netanyahu is involved in two separate corruption cases and investigators have questioned him several times.

The cases involve allegations that Netanyahu received lavish gifts from wealthy businessmen and negotiated a deal with a newspaper owner for more favorable coverage. He has denied any wrongdoing.

One of the ongoing investigations against him, reportedly related to the gifts, is carried out under “caution,” meaning that Netanyahu is suspected of committing a crime.

On Sunday, Several thousand Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv to call for the resignation and imprisonment of Netanyahu over his corruption charges.

The protests come amid widespread public anger over a parliamentary bill which would bar police from publicizing recommendations on indictments. Many say the bill is specially devised to protect Netanyahu.


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