Barak advisers could be charged

Barak on the campaign trail. Four advisers to the former prime minister may be charged for alleged campaign finance violations. (Brian Hendler)

Barak on the campaign trail. Four advisers to the former prime minister may be charged for alleged campaign finance violations. (Brian Hendler)

JERUSALEM, May 28 (JTA) — Israeli police have recommended filing charges against four advisers to former Prime Minister Ehud Barak for alleged campaign finance violations. The four are suspected of breaking the law by setting up fictitious nonprofit organizations to channel funds raised abroad for Barak’s 1999 election campaign. Violation of the Party Funding Law is punishable by a fine. The four are former Cabinet secretary and attorney Yitzhak Herzog; former campaign manager Tal Zilberstein; Barak’s brother-in-law, attorney Doron Cohen; and Knesset member Weizman Shiri. The police did not recommend charging Barak, saying they failed to find evidence linking him to the overseas fund-raising activities. The matter was first disclosed in a state comptroller report into the nonprofit associations that was issued in 2000. Following publication of the report, Barak had said he had no knowledge of the associations. “I did not know the nonprofit organizations, I was not informed of the details and I was not involved specifically in any of the actions described in the report,” he said at the time. Reacting to the police recommendation, Herzog insisted he had acted within the law. “Everything I did was legal,” Herzog said, explaining that he had based his actions on a statement by the attorney general on a similar matter. In the report issued in 2000, State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg found that Barak’s One Israel bloc had violated party finance regulations. In the wake of the report, police launched investigations into funding violations by One Israel, Likud, the Center Party, United Torah Judaism and Israel, Our Home. As part of a different investigation, Israeli police last month questioned Prime Minister Ariel Sharon regarding alleged campaign finance violations during Likud Party primaries.

NEXT STORY