Likud MK David Bitan was again questioned by police Sunday as part of an ongoing investigation into suspicions he accepted hundreds of thousands of shekels in bribes, some of which he allegedly received after becoming a member of Knesset.
It was Bitan’s eleventh interrogation by Lahav 433 national fraud unit investigators in relation to the case.
Bitan, who chose to remain silent in some of his initial rounds of questioning, cooperated during his last two interrogations in July and August, a Hadashot TV news report in August said.
In April, Hadashot reported that police were planning to recommend indicting him.
Bitan — who stepped down as coalition whip after it was revealed he was being investigated, but remains a member of Knesset — is also likely to be charged with money laundering and tax offenses, the report said.
He is suspected of receiving the money, both while serving as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion and later, as a member of parliament, from his business associate Moshe Yosef and from businessman Dror Glazer, who have both testified against him.
Investigators reportedly hold specific information on how the suspected bribes and money transfers were handled, in light of the testimony from Yosef, who owns a furniture store where police suspect the bribes were given to Bitan.
Bitan was confronted with Yosef’s testimony during an interrogation on January 28. In a major development, Yosef reportedly gave a detailed account, telling investigators that the bribes were frequent, including during the past five years. Yosef told investigators that he had delivered hundreds of thousands of shekels to Bitan during visits the Likud lawmaker made to Yosef’s store, called Metzada.
The investigation, dubbed Case 1803, has seen the arrests of a number of suspects including Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Zur, city officials, local businessmen, and organized crime figures.
Bitan denies any wrongdoing.