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Uri Ariel denies comptroller recommended he be probed

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel denies that a state comptroller report has recommended a criminal investigation into his alleged transfer of millions of shekels, earmarked for poor towns in Israel’s rural areas, to nonprofit organizations run by his political confidants.

“The comptroller did not recommend opening a probe by the attorney general into the actions of the minister,” a statement put out by Ariel says.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel seen in Jerusalem Old City on March 6, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel seen in Jerusalem Old City on March 6, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The report, however, explicitly recommends an investigation into decisions made by Ariel.

“Then-housing minister Uri Ariel, who had personal relationships with the political associates and his advisers at the time, is responsible for the failures that were raised. The decision by the Housing Ministry and the Settlement Division to fund… groups whose members live in, and are active in, neighborhoods with a high socioeconomic status in central Israel, some of which don’t even qualify for Resolution 741, requires an examination by the attorney general,” the report said.

Notably, Ariel’s statement does not deny the allegations.

The minister “respects the findings of the comptroller and has already instructed the relevant authorities to act according to his recommendations,” the statement reads.

 

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