JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jacob Frenkel withdrew his candidacy to be the next governor of the Bank of Israel over accusations that he shoplifted at a duty-free shop in Hong Kong.
Frenkel called the shoplifting incident a “misunderstanding” and said the Hong Kong authorities apologized for the embarrassing incident, in which Frenkel says he left the store with a garment bag that he thought a colleague had taken care of paying for.
Early reports mistakenly said the garment bag was a bottle of perfume.
Frenkel told Israel Channel 2 that since his nomination was announced five weeks ago, “the dam broke and people tried to tarnish my professional reputation and my integrity. This is an attempt to burn me at the stake.”
Stanley Fischer stepped down last month as Bank of Israel chief.
Frenkel previously served two terms as governor of the Bank of Israel from 1991 to 2000.