Charges brought against Ariel Sharon’s son

CHARGES have been brought against the son of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon over the funding of one of his father’s election campaigns in 1999.

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By  Tamara Walid Published  July 31, 2005

CHARGES have been brought against the son of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon over the funding of one of his father’s election campaigns in 1999. Omri Sharon is accused of creating shell companies to conceal illegal donations. He has admitted overspending but questioned party funding limits — charges relate to Ariel Sharon’s successful campaign to lead the Likud Party and to be its candidate for prime minister. Sharon’s term as prime minister has been marred by multiple scandals over shady campaign financing and real estate deals, but the prime minister himself has so far escaped indictment. If found guilty, Omri Sharon faces up to five years in prison over charges of violating campaign finance laws, fraud, breach of trust and perjury. Ariel Sharon had always denied knowledge of the financing of his campaign, saying it was run exclusively by his son. Now a member of parliament, Omri Sharon says he will waive his immunity from prosecution and stand trial. Last week, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed a law authorising the prosecution of its members (MKs) without having to request parliamentary immunity to be stripped. Attorney general Menachem Mazuz had been unable to push forward with the case because MKs were immune from prosecution. In his first public response to the allegations against him, quoted in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Omri Sharon admitted he had overspent in his father’s primary campaign and was ready to receive his punishment. However, he added, the limitations on campaign contributions and spending according to the Political Parties Law, which was passed in 1992, were unrealistic and impossible to honour. “Experts say reasonable spending to run a campaign like the 1999 primaries is 10 times higher than the sum fixed by the law,” wrote Omri Sharon. “The law was therefore a decree the public could not fulfil.” He added that since the law was so unreasonable, he was certain it had never been enforced before. “I am the first person to be put on trial for breaking this law,” he said.

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