JERUSALEM (Apr. 24)
Abba Eban met for more than two hours with a top Treasury official, Dov Kanterowitz, in Tel Aviv today to explain the nature of his bank accounts in New York, the existence of which was reported by Israel Radio last night. A Treasury spokesman said after the meeting that it would take “several days” for the department to study the information that Eban had submitted.
The former Foreign Minister contended earlier in public statements that his accounts had existed under a permit he received from the Treasury almost 10 years ago. He conceded that he had failed–because he did not know this was required–to renew the license in 1975 and Treasury officials said that if this was his only omission it would be seen as purely technical and in no way culpable.
One problem, however, seemed to be that neither the Treasury nor Eban have been able to locate the original 1967 permit which Eban says he received. Treasury officials explained that they were checking a complaint against Eban by an Israeli named Moshe Eliaz now living in New York to ascertain whether Eban did indeed conform strictly to the terms of the permit he apparently received. Any straying beyond the terms of the permit (in the use he made of his money abroad) would be prima facie culpable.
REASON FOR NEEDING THE MONEY
Eban explained in a press statement today that his money abroad stemmed from income from books and “academic activities” which included lectures in public and at Columbia University. He said he needed to have some of the money available in New York to pay the salaries of a secretary and a research assistant, to pay his literary agent there, and to be ready to repay large advances from his publishers, Random House, for books he has undertaken to write.
Eban explained that in the event he is unable to deliver the books contracted for–his autobiography and a textbook of diplomatic practice–he would have to return the advances. This would probably happen if he is called to serve in the new government. Eban said he also requires money in New York for living expenses during his frequent and lengthy visits there.
In recent years he said he regularly transferred moneys from his New York accounts to Israel through the Bank Leumi. “Obviously, the bank acted in accordance with the permit I received,” he observed.