Police Recommend Legal Action Against Israel's First Arab Minister for Corruption
Police recommended Tuesday that legal action be pursued against Israel's first-ever Arab government minister, Saleh Tarif, on charges of corruption, said reports.
The police had completed their investigation into whether Tarif, a minister without portfolio, was involved in peddling Israeli passports for cash, Haaretz newspaper said, adding that the case had been forwarded to the state prosecutor's office.
Tarif is believed to have acted as an intermediary in a bid by West Bank Palestinian Husseini Badira to obtain Israeli citizenship.
Badira allegedly paid several thousand dollars to an Israeli Interior Ministry official, Rafi Cohen, in exchange for citizenship.
Both Badira and Cohen were arrested in mid-June, while Tarif has categorically denied any involvement in the affair and remains free, the paper added.
Tarif is a member of Israel's Druze Arab minority and is married, with four children.
He earlier served in an Israeli parachute regiment, where he reached the rank of major.
First elected to parliament in 1991 from the Labor Party, Tarif has held a number of senior positions, including the chairmanship of the interior committee and deputy interior minister.
Following his election as prime minister in February, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon chose Tarif to join his broad national unity coalition government – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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