Likud minister questioned on suspicion of insider trading
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Likud minister questioned on suspicion of insider trading

Haim Katz and his financial adviser allegedly made NIS 290,000 from buying stocks before a merger was made public

Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz attends a Labor and Welfare committee meeting in the Knesset, June 8, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASh90)
Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz attends a Labor and Welfare committee meeting in the Knesset, June 8, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASh90)

Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) was interrogated by agents of the Israel Securities Authority on Monday over suspicions he used insider information for financial gain.

Katz’s financial adviser Mordechai Ben-Aryeh was arrested in connection with the case, and released on Tuesday after posting a NIS 1 million ($260,000) bond.

Katz and Ben-Aryeh were suspected of buying stocks for Nitsba Holdings, based on insider information on an upcoming merger with Airport City before the merger was made public, and making NIS 290,000 ($75,000) from the shares, Channel 2 reported. Ben-Aryeh also served as an adviser for the two companies.

Katz has not been summoned for further questioning and was not arrested, the TV report said. The minister was interrogated for three hours on Monday.

Businessman Kobi Maimon, a confidant of the minister, was also linked to the case, according to the report.

There was no immediate comment from Katz, who is not the only serving politician suspected of corruption: In March, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced a criminal investigation against Interior Minister Aryeh Deri for suspected corruption, after fresh fraud allegations were leveled against the Shas leader. The investigation centers on unreported real estate owned by Deri — who has served jail time for graft — and members of his family, including a vacation home in northern Israel and apartments owned by each of his nine children.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Isaac Herzog is suspected of financial improprieties over primary campaign spending. A final decision from Mandelblit as to whether to indict Herzog, who chairs the Labor Party and leads the Zionist Union faction, is expected in the coming weeks.

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