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MK Oren Hazan could face jail time for corruption

Comptroller's Report reveals freshman MK used state money in party primaries; 40 others also accused of financial impropriety.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

In hot water: MK Oren Hazan
In hot water: MK Oren Hazan
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Likud MK Oren Hazan could face jail time, after a State Comptroller report accused him of improperly using state resources to fund his primaries elections campaign.

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira's report on Tuesday named the gaff-prone freshman MK, as the most serious case of some 40 MKs and ministers criticized in the report for varying degrees of financial impropriety.

The report, made public at 4 p.m. Wednesday, raises suspicions that Hazan submitted a falsified financial report to the comptroller, a criminal offense that is liable to three years in jail.

It details suspicions that Hazan used the resources of state companies for his primaries election campaign, and then lied about the source or even the existence of those funds. In his expenses report, he claimed his only expense was a 7,000 NIS mandatory registration fee to the party, which he said he paid from his own pocket. 

Yet the MK was found to have had other expenses which were not reported to the State Comptroller. In the absence of any report it is impossible to audit his accounts, including ascertaining the origin and legality of the sources of the funds he used during his primaries campaign.

For his part, Hazan claims he did not know he was obligated to report his expenses - a claim the State Comptroller rejected out of hand.

"As a young and new MK, for whom this was the first elections campaign that I joined at the last minute, I will study the report and will fix what is required," said Hazan in response. Despite being a freshman MK, Hazan did in fact have the experience of his father, former Likud MK Yehiel Hazan, to draw upon.

The findings will be transferred to State Attorney Yehuda Weinstein, who will decide whether or not to submit an indictment against Hazan. As mentioned, since there is no way to ascertain how much money Hazan actually spent, he will meanwhile only be fined a relatively small sum of 5,000 NIS.

Although he has only been in the Knesset for a few months, Hazan has already been embroiled in a number of controversies.

Hazan has been accused of providing Israeli tourists with drugs and prostitutes during his tenure as owner of a casino in Bulgaria, and likewise was accused of sexual assault and assault; the MK has denied the allegations.

Last month he apparently blew off a Knesset Committee meeting to hold a birthday party for himself in Eilat, and just last week had to apologize for apparently mocking a fellow MK with a disability.

Among a further 40 MKs and ministers who are suspected of some degree of financial misconduct in the report was Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett.

According to the report, Bennett did not properly manage his accounts during the primaries, by failing to provide adequate documentation for all of his expenses. Specifically, it is claimed that Bennett may have used funds raised for his own primaries campaign for reelection as party leader in the party's general election campaign.

In response, Bennett office said the minister would address all the issues raised once he returns from his current trip abroad.

"The minister will study the report with serious consideration when he returns from his hasbara tour abroad, and will fix all that needs fixing so that the matters will not be repeated," the statement read.

Other MKs and former MKs named in the report include former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who will be fined 10,000 for improper financial activities.

Feiglin's expenditure during his failed primaries campaign amounted to one million shekels, and his deficit reached more than 400,000 NIS. According to the Comptroller's report he deviated from fundraising rules by accepting donations well beyond the limit set for MKs.

He is also accused of not properly managing his financial reports and covering up his deficits from previous elections in violation of the law.

Likud Ministers Mirir Regev and Haim Katz are among dozens of other MKs from both the Right and Left facing other lesser allegations of financial improprieties.




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