Israeli consul in The Hague arrested on suspicion he issued passports in exchange for bribes

Israeli police have arrested an Israeli diplomat serving in the Netherlands on suspicion he issued passports in exchange for bribes, investigators said Wednesday.

Israel's consul in The Hague, Uriel Yitzhaki, was arrested Tuesday after he landed at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport for a Passover vacation.

Yitzhaki appeared surprised when he was approached by plainclothes detectives and informed he was under arrest, said Amichai Shai, head of the International Crimes Unit in the Israeli police.

Shai told Israel Army Radio that undercover officers investigated Yitzhaki in The Hague, and that his home in the Netherlands was searched as part of the probe.

"We entered the picture ... in July 2004, when we received initial information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about suspicions that this consul issued passports not in keeping with consular norms and Israeli law," Shai said.

"This was the beginning of an undercover operation that lasted several months, that involved other police forces, including the Dutch one."

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined comment on the case.


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