Jerusalem (Apr. 15)
– Independent MK Samuel Flatto-Sharon was found guilty today of resorting to bribery in the last Knesset elections and will be sentenced in the next few days. One of his aides, Jack Benaudis, was convicted on the same charge but the magistrates court here acquitted another co-defendant, Flatto’s campaign manager, Yaacov Halfon.
Aides to Flatto said he would appeal the verdict and meanwhile continue his campaign for reelection on June 30. The court found that Flatto’s offer of cheap apartment rentals to voters before the 1977 elections constituted bribery despite defense claims that it was a normal business deal. The millionaire MK was also found guilty of bribing a local party list in the immigrant development town of Dimona. His defense contended that he was only doing what all political parties did in election campaigns.
Flatto was stripped of his Knesset immunity more than a year ago after MK Shulamit Aloni of the Civil Rights Movement drew attention to his the Knesset that year blocked efforts by the French government to obtain his extradition to stand trial in France for alleged embezzlement and mismanagement of funds. Flatto had sought refuge in Israel several years earlier to escape arrest in France. The Paris authorities still want him back.