Israel's Sharon could face campaign finance probe
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could face a legal probe into financial irregularities unearthed in the funding of his election campaign, legal officials said Sunday, September 30.
Justice ministry officials told Israeli public radio that Sharon had admitted to "funds that were received illegally" and had pledged to give back the money to donors after a state audit cast doubt on his party's funding for his victorious February election.
Sharon's son Omri, a key figure in the campaign's financing department, as well as the head of the company handling the funds, had decided not to comment on the issue, the radio added.
The report said both Sharon's Likud party and the Labor party of then rival Ehud Barak had received funding from overseas for their election campaigns, which is forbidden under strict campaign rules.
Both parties have already paid out fines for the breach — Likud to the tune of $150,000 and Labor $325,000 — but the report was the first indication that Sharon and his son themselves could face possible legal proceedings. ― (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)