Hanegbi cleared of most charges


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A senior Israeli lawmaker was found innocent on charges of fraud and breach of trust, but guilty of perjury after a four-year trial.

Tzachi Hanegbi of the Kadima Party heard the decision Tuesday morning in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. He was cleared as well on charges of election bribery and trying to illegally influence voters.

He faces a prison sentence of up to seven years for perjury and false oath charges stemming from his testimony on 69 political appointments he made while serving as environment minister as a member of the Likud Party under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Hanegbi in 2004 was accused of making dozens of political appointments, including creating fictitious jobs. He was indicted and went on trial in 2006.

If his conviction is found to involve moral turpitude, Hanegbi could be banned from the Knesset for seven years. He is seen as the main challenger to Tzipi Livni’s party leadership.

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