Former Finance Minister Indicted

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Attorney General Menachem (Meni) Mazuz issued a formal indictment Sunday against former finance minister Avraham Hirchson.

Hirchson's indictment includes allegations of theft, fraud, money laundering and breach of faith during his tenure as chairman of the National Workers Federation.

Hirchson is accused of absconding with some 2.5 million shekels (about $750,000 dollars at today's exchange rate). Three colleagues -- Yitzhad Ruso, Amatzia Boner and Zion Cohen -- have also been indicted. Together, the four are accused of stealing nearly 13 million shekels(nearly $4 million).

From 2000 to 2003, Ovadia Cohen, head of the union's finance department, and Gideon Ben-Tzur, the union's chief accountant, approved checks worth millions of shekels, transferring some 2.5 million shekels to Hirchson personally.

According to the indictment, messengers delivered some of the money in cash, while the rest was deposited in Hirchson's personal bank account, covering a broad range of expenses, many of which were not work-related at all.

Though Hirchson stepped down as finance minister at the start of the investigation, he remains a member of Knesset (MK). As such, he has 30 days within which to ask for immunity from prosecution.

Hirchson's office released a statement saying he doesn't intend to ask for immunity, in which case the indictment will be filed in Tel Aviv court on the 31st day.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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