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Hong Kong officials say Frenkel was charged, there was no apology

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jacob Frenkel, who withdrew his candidacy to head the Bank of Israel over accusations that he shoplifted at a duty-free shop in Hong Kong, was arrested and charged with shoplifting, according to Hong Kong government officials.

Hong Kong’s Department of Justice said in a written response to a query from the Israeli daily Haaretz that Frenkel in November 2006 was arrested and charged with the theft of a garment bag from a duty free shop at Hong Kong International Airport and that the charges were later dropped. The letter said there was “no apology to Dr. Frenkel and the Department of Justice had not thanked him for not seeking any compensation,” Haaretz reported Wednesday.

Frenkel had called the shoplifting incident a “misunderstanding” and said the Hong Kong authorities apologized for the embarrassing incident. He said he left the store with a garment bag and thought a colleague had taken care of paying for it.

Frenkel did not disclose the incident to the Turkel Committee on Senior Appointments, which vetted his nomination.

He withdrew his candidacy on July 29, five weeks after he was nominated, and called the publicity surrounding the shoplifting incident “an attempt to burn me at the stake.”

Frenkel previously served two terms as Bank of Israel governor from 1991 to 2000.

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