The Jerusalem branch of the Israel Police arrested the director and three employees of Israel’s organ donor organization on suspicions that they received financial donations in exchange for authorizing illegal organ transplants.

Operating room | Illustration

Operating room | Illustration Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

The Jerusalem Police arrested an association director and three employees on Monday for suspected organ donation fraud. Theirs is in fact the only organization that deals with organ transplantation in Israel and it is now suspected of receiving money in exchange for illegal activities.

The police reported that the investigation is complex and of a sensitive nature, as they were required to take testimonies not only from employees within the organization, but from people in need of organ transplants and their families. The investigation began following a complaint filed by Ministry of Health officials that members of the organization were bumping people to the top of the transplant waiting list in exchange for money from the patients in the form of donations to the organization.

The findings from the investigation have thus far revealed that hundreds of thousands of shekels were paid to members of the organization from organ transplant recipients, but that most of the money was transferred to the organization itself. The Israel Police emphasized that the transplant recipients could not work for a living due to their medical conditions, and most of them needed to ask for financial support from their friends and families. The money that they managed to raise was then given as an illegal donation to the organization. Therefore, while the police are also investigating the financial donors, they also recognize that they were victims who were acting to save lives.

The four suspects arrested this morning were brought in for questioning by the Jerusalem fraud unit and a search was conducted in their homes.