Friday, July 24, 2009

Politicians, officials and rabbis in a corruption scandal

More than 40 people, including politicians, officials and several rabbis have been arrested in a major FBI operation in the US.

Three hundred agents raided dozens of locations in New Jersey and New York as part of a 10-year probe into corruption and money laundering.

Three mayors from the state of New Jersey and two members of the state legislature were among those held.

One man is accused of kidney trafficking involving Israeli donors.

Prosecutors say the arrests were part of a "dual-tracked" investigation.

Acting US Attorney Ralph Marra told reporters there were 29 suspects on what he termed the "public corruption" side of the investigation, including the politicians.

On the other side, he said, there were 15 suspects in connection with alleged international money-laundering, including the rabbis and their "associates".

Prosecutors accuse one man of dealing in human kidneys from Israeli donors for transplant for a decade.

It is alleged that "vulnerable people" would give up a kidney for $10,000 (£6,000) and these would then be sold on for $160,000 (£97,000).


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