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Nine arrested as food license fraud scandal widens

NIS 1 million in cash found in home of Health Ministry inspector suspected of taking bribes to issue restaurant permits

Police arrest 9 more suspects in health ministry food inspection bribery scandal. (iStock by Getty Images)
Police arrest 9 more suspects in health ministry food inspection bribery scandal. (iStock by Getty Images)

Police on Sunday arrested nine more suspects in a widening bribery scandal involving a Health Ministry inspector who allegedly took cash payments in return for approving business licenses, and sabotaged Tel Aviv businesses that didn’t play along with his scam.

Sunday’s arrests include the father-and-son owners of a “well-known food chain” who were taken into custody at their homes, the Ynet news site reported. Police have not yet identified any of those arrested or specified the names of the business establishments involved.

Last week police arrested a Health Ministry inspector and eight others in the suspected bribery scheme involving owners of several restaurants and bakeries in Tel Aviv.

Police from the Lahav 433 fraud unit found in excess of NIS 1 million cash during a search of the inspector’s home.

The headquarters of the Israel Police’s Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit in Lod. (Flash90)

The health inspector is suspected taking bribes ranging from NIS 3,000 to NIS 4,000 each time for business licenses and authorizing that the location met Health Ministry sanitary conditions.

He also deliberately tried to financially hurt businesses that did not make the bribery payments, police said.

All those arrested are suspected of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and other offenses, police said.

Several of those being detained are expected to be brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court Sunday for an extension of their remand in custody.

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