JERUSALEM — Israeli police said Wednesday they had detained more than 30 serving and former public officials in an investigation into alleged corruption linked to a party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition. Israeli media identified the officials as being connected to Yisrael Beitenu, the party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the suspected crimes in the case included fraud, breach of trust and money laundering. She said the investigation "raised suspicions that the suspects collaborated ... to further their own private and public interests to procure funds ... in a manner that fundamentally damaged proper conduct."
Yisrael Beitenu issued a statement denying wrongdoing and said police had deliberately targeted the party ahead of a general election on March 17, in which Netanyahu is seeking a fourth term. Police chief Yohanan Danino denied the investigation had been deliberately timed to be made public as elections approach. "The investigation has been ongoing for a year and the transition to an overt probe is a result of a consideration of the evidence and the readiness to make matters public," Danino said.
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