Israel’s wealthiest woman questioned in construction fraud investigation

Officials from Shikun & Binui, Israel’s largest construction firm, were questioned over the weekend by Israeli fraud investigators.

The firm is suspected of bribing foreign officials to win contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Reuters reports that Israeli authorities are co-operating with overseas police agencies on the case.

Earlier this year, Israeli police arrested seven Shikun & Binui executives, including former chief executive Ofer Kotler, on suspicion of bribing Kenyan officials.

Among those questioned was Shari Arison (pictured), Israel’s wealthiest woman, who was detained for eight hours on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Israeli paper Haaretz has reported that Arison’s investment firm Arison Group recently sold its 47% stake in Shikun & Binui for $310m to Naty Saidoff, a US-Israeli businessman.

Also questioned under caution was Efrad Peled, Arison Investments’ chief executive and chairman.

Arison Group said in a statement, quoted by Haaretz: "Shari Arison and Efrat Peled were invited in advance to the offices of Lahav 433. They cooperated completely and are certain that there was no flaw in their conduct, and that will also be the conclusion of the enforcement agencies. The Arison Group has zero tolerance for any improper behaviour."

A statement from the Israel Securities Authority said: "As part of the Israel police’s organised battle against offenses relating to public corruption, the investigation continues into bribery of a foreign public employee and offenses under the Securities Law."

Image: Shari Arison (Wikimedia Commons)

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