Police investigations into the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took a startling turn on Sunday night, as the prime minister’s staunch defender, coalition chairman David Bitan, was reportedly considering resigning as a corruption probe focused this time on him rather than on Mr. Netanyahu.
Bitan, whose is suspected of illegal dealings when he was a municipality official in Rishon LeTzion, was the star of a transcript of a conversation between himself and unnamed confidants which appeared to implicate him, aired Sunday on Hadashot news.
During a break in the questioning on Sunday, the coalition leader vented his frustrations, telling a confidante that “they are doing everything they can to frame me,” he was quoted as saying by Globes.
“They persecute me and won’t let me do my work. I’m thinking of leaving the Knesset.” Bitan’s associates have also been subjected to police questioning.
Although police will allow him to go home, the report said he was expected to be summoned back for further questioning early Monday.
The timing of the probe of Bitan’s activities going back several years ago, in the middle of the midst of the turmoil surrounding the prime minister raised eyebrows; but police spokeswoman Merav Lapidot denied any political considerations.
Lapidot told Channel 10 that “there is no connection to any political or other events that occur parallel to the investigation. The time [for questioning Bitan] was set long in advance. The moment we act to postpone or advance due to political events, we are actually tainting the investigation,” she added.