Jerusalem (May. 11)
Shmuel Flatto-Sharon, the controversial independent Knesset member, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment by a Jerusalem magistrate yesterday for buying votes in the 1977 elections. He was given an additional 27-month sentence which was suspended. He announced that he will appeal his conviction, handed down three weeks ago, and the sentence. A campaign aide, Jacques Ben-Odis, who was convicted on the same charge, was given a suspended sentence and a fine.
Although Flatto insists that he will run for reelection June 30, his future as an MK is clouded. Recent legislation automatically removes from office any MK who is convicted of a crime and sentenced to a year or longer in jail. While Flatto’s sentence falls three months short of a year, the Knesset House Committee is expected to initiate the legal process to strip him of his parliamentary status.
Flatto came to Israel from France more than five years ago to escape trial there on charges of embezzlement and fraud, extraditable offenses. It was widely believed that he ran for the Knesset in order to avoid extradition. He was subsequently convicted in absentia by a French court. His sentence here will not begin for 45 days to allow time for appeal. Meanwhile, Flatto announced a three-member Knesset list with himself at the head, Jerusalem attorney Yitzhak Toussia-Cohen in the No. 2 spot and Flatto’s wife as No. 3.