Shas lawmaker convicted in corruption case

A senior lawmaker from Israel’s Shas party was convicted on corruption charges.

Shlomo Benizri was found guilty Tuesday in Jerusalem District Court of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a case focusing on his relations with a private building contractor while serving as labor and welfare minister under a previous Israeli government.

Benizri has denied wrongdoing and may have the option of a Supreme Court appeal.

Shas caters primarily to fervently Orthodox Jews of Sephardi descent and is a major partner in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government. Following the ruling, members of the left-wing political opposition called for Benizri to resign from the Knesset.

Several years ago, then-Shas leader Aryeh Deri was convicted of fraud and served a three-year prison term.

 

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