Israel police question billionaire Arison in Shikun bribery probe

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli-American billionaire Shari Arison was questioned by Israeli police on Sunday in connection with an ongoing bribery investigation into the country's largest construction firm, Shikun & Binui SKBN.TA, her company said.

Arison’s investment arm Arison Group recently sold control of Shikun & Binui to U.S.-Israeli businessman Naty Saidoff.

Arison was summoned along with another executive of Arison Group, Efrat Peled, by the Israeli police’s anti-corruption unit, Arison Group said in a statement.

“They cooperated fully and are certain there was no flaw in their conduct, and that this will also be the conclusion of the enforcement agencies,” it said.

Arison Group completed the sale of its 47.5 percent stake in Shikun & Binui to Saidoff last week for 1.1 billion shekels ($296 million).

Shikun & Binui said in February that four current and former employees of a foreign subsidiary had been detained for questioning by Israeli police on suspicion of bribery in Africa.

Shikun said at the time that the subsidiary was conducting its own examination using an independent firm from abroad. It said it was not yet able to assess the accuracy of the allegations.

In a joint statement on Sunday, the Israeli police and the Israel Securities Authority said their investigation was focusing on suspicions that the company bribed foreign government officials to advance projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Kenya and other countries.

The Israel Securities Authority and police said they were working with foreign enforcement agencies.

Arison along with her brother inherited billions of dollars from her late father Ted Arison, who founded Carnival Corp, the world’s biggest cruise ship operator. Through Arison Group she controls Israel's biggest bank, Hapoalim POLI.TA.

Reporting by Tova Cohen and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Susan Fenton