Shas chairperson and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri spoke on Wednesday morning for the first time about the corruption investigation against him, sanctioned by the Attorney General and revealed by police the previous night.
"The publications from last night surprised me completely," Deri said at a conference at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem that had been arranged in advance.
According to Deri, he contacted Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday night asking that he remove the publication gag order on his name, after Channel 2 reported that a senior political figure and a close associate of the figure were being investigated.
"I stand at the service of any source that is checking, whatever is needed," continued the minister. "I am happy that the Attorney General acted as he did. I have only one request – to speed things up and to do it as quickly as possible, to remove the doubts."
"I am ready to help, to let them do their work, just hit the gas and do it quicker so that we can continue to work."
Earlier on Wednesday morning MK Mickey Rosenthal of the Zionist Union party's Labor faction criticized Deri for being "a corrupt man," noting how in January he returned to the post of Interior Minister 22 years after he abused the same position by taking bribes.
Rosenthal spoke about his bill to have those convicted of corruption blocked from serving in the Knesset ever again, and his petition to the Supreme Court over the "discrimination" in how Deri for now is only subject to a "preliminary investigation" and not a criminal investigation, in what the MK charges is preferential treatment due to Deri's position.
According to a Haaretz report on Tuesday night, another senior politician aside from Deri is also being investigated in the corruption case.