The preliminary police inquiry into the Interior Minister has been upgraded to a full police investigation, the attorney general announced Thursday; Deri promises full cooperation and maintains his innocence.

The Attorney General has upgraded the preliminary police inquiry into Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to a full criminal investigation on Thursday night.

Earlier that day, a meeting took place between Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, State Attorney Shai Nitzan and head of the Police Investigations Department Deputy Commissioner Meni Yitzhaki. During that meeting, the inquiry’s material was presented, and the decision was made to open the investigation.

At this stage, a gag order is still in effect concerning the details of the suspicions against the Minister, who is also the leader of political party Shas. It seems likely that questions will be asked regarding real estate belonging to Deri and his family.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri speaking in Tiberias (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri speaking in Tiberias (Photo: Avihu Shapira)


The first stage will be collecting evidence. The investigators will continue collecting documents and statements from persons connected to the case. Once the investigators have acquired sufficient material, Deri will likely be called in to answer their questions under caution.

The Minister’s office says that he is prepared to fully cooperate with law enforcement and that he maintains his innocence.

About an hour before the investigation was announced, the Shas leader spoke in Tiberias and addressed his family’s villa in Safsufa (located in northern Israel), which seems to be related to the investigation. Deri explained, “The Deri family loves the Galilee. (…) We don’t like abroad; we prefer Israel and the Galilee. Yes, the Deri family decided to build a house in Safsufa where we can (go on) vacation. We all built it together, with the support of my mother and my brother, and it belongs equally to my children.”

As reported by Ynetnews