MK Ruhama Avraham of Kadima will be questioned by the police in the near future on suspicions of receiving bribes and breach of trust, TheMarker. has learned.
Avraham is leading the the fight against President Moshe Katsav in an attempt to forbid him from appearing in the Knesset until his investigation has ended.
A few weeks ago Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered the police to open an investigation of Avraham and the agricultural export company Agrexco and its CEO, Shlomo Tirosh. Mazuz also ordered the police Investigations Division to investigate Tirosh for offering bribes to Avraham and MK Eli Aflalo, also of Kadima. The National Fraud Squad was placed in charge of the investigation.
Last November TheMarker exposed that Avraham and Aflalo, then MK's representing the Likud, traveled overseas at Agrexco's expense. The two flew to Belgium and the U.S. in the summer of 2004, even though the year before the Knesset Ethics Committee forbade them to travel overseas at Agrexco's expense.
The cost of the trip was $6,800, and additional expenses for the two added up to $4,388. Avraham said at the time: "It is possible that an innocent mistake was made." Since then the two MK's have paid back the cost of the trips.
Agrexco is 50 percent owned by the state, with the other half owned by the various agricultural p roduction and marketing boards.
The state comptroller examined the affair after it was exposed. He determined that Tirosh expected some form of quid pro quo in return for the trip. Tirosh asked for their assistance in advancing Agrexco's interests in the Knesset at the time: saving the company large expenses on security checks for the agricultural cargo it was exporting.
Avraham worked to call a special meeting of the Knesset Interior Committee, which dealt with the matter, even though she was not a member of that committee. She even chaired part of the meeting. All this came a short time after the free trip.
Avraham's activities, and the fact that she did not inform the members of the committee of the trip, all point to the suspicion of accepting a bribe.
The Justice Ministry said: "After examing the state comptroller's report on the matter, it was decided by the attorney general and state prosecutor to open a criminal investigation on the suspicion of accepting bribes and breach of trust; and against Agrexco and its CEO on suspicion of offering bribes."