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Israeli minister grilled on graft suspicions: media

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JERUSALEM  - Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and his wife were being questioned by fraud squad detectives Monday as part of a major corruption investigation, Israeli media reported.

Police confirmed an investigation was ongoing involving a "public official and his wife," but did not provide further details.

Public radio tweeted that Deri, who was freed in 2002 after 22 months in prison for bribery and fraud, entered the offices of the police serious crimes and fraud unit with his wife Yaffa on Monday morning.

Privately owned Channel 2 television said the couple were being interviewed in separate rooms.

Haaretz newspaper said police were questioning another 14 suspects, including the director general of a government ministry.

In Israel, the interior ministry is not responsible for law enforcement, which is under the control of a separate public security ministry.

Haaretz said the Deris were "expected to be asked, among other things, to explain how he financed real estate he bought in recent years, such as his house in Safsufa," a village in northern Israel.

A police statement confirmed the investigation, without identifying the suspects.

"This morning police detained 14 suspects from all over the country as part of an investigation conducted by the national unit for investigations and in cooperation with the Tax Authority," it said.

"This investigation began in April 2016 based on suspicions of tax offences mainly in the field of assets and was expanded to additional suspicions that expanded to other suspects, including a public official and his wife."

Contacted by AFP, a police spokesman declined to elaborate.

Deri founded the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas party, which is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government.

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Muslim Global: Israeli minister grilled on graft suspicions: media
Israeli minister grilled on graft suspicions: media
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