Finance Minister doesn’t need to leave post

Thursday, March 22, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Attorney General Menahem Mazuz said on Wednesday that Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson did not have to leave his post, as there was not enough evidence to convict him of fraud.

Mazuz issued the ruling after the police briefed him and State Attorney Eran Shendar on the finance minister’s conduct when he headed the National Labor Federation in Eretz Israel.

The investigation began when Ovadia Cohen, the former head of Nili, embezzled approximately 5.5 million shekels from the organization, accusing Hirchson of being aware of the situation and failing to submit a report. Nili runs educational institutions and is operated under the umbrella of the union.

But police are now under the belief that Hirschson may have received some of the embezzled money which was used to pay his son’s gambling debts.

One former member of the union said he had seen the finance minister receive a number of envelopes filled with cash from Cohen. Police are looking into the incident of which he was caught by Polish police with a suitcase full of money for the March of the Living, a program for Jewish youth to learn lessons of the Holocaust.

“He is well aware of the difficult atmosphere created by the publications accompanying the investigation against him, but he believes he will be cleared of all charges, knowing he is completely innocent,” an aide said.

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