Omri Sharon Indicted on Corruption, Forgery and Perjury Charges

MK Omri Sharon, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son and closest political coordinator, was indicted Sunday for corruption, forgery and perjury related to the election of the Prime Minister.

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Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 16:23

The elder Sharon son is accused of setting up fake companies in order to conceal illegal contributions to his father’s 1999 election campaign to chair the Likud Party and become its candidate for prime minister.

The indictment accuses Omri Sharon of accepting more than 6 million shekels ($1.3 million) in 1999 and 2000 from foreign and Israeli groups for his father's campaign. That figure far exceeds the legal fund-raising limit stipulated by the Parties Funding Law.

Omri Sharon established the fictional Annex Research Company to funnel the illegal contributions to his father’s campaign. Sharon the son paid suppliers and consultants directly from overseas accounts, using the company to bypass the scrutiny of the Likud Party comptroller and ordering those paid to falsify receipts.

If convicted of the crimes, Omri Sharon could face up to five years behind bars. He is hoping to have the sentence reduced to community service. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has gone on record as insisting on jail time.

MK Sharon waived his immunity last month when it became clear that his Knesset colleagues would not uphold his immunity should he request a Knesset vote on the matter.

There is speculation that the younger Sharon is taking the fall for much more widespread corruption of the Sharon family, including the Greek Island affair. Omri Sharon wrote a letter to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin last month insisting that he was completely to blame for all illegal activity and not his father. "It is true, in my managing of my father's 1999 election campaign, I did not stand by the rules of the Parties Law, and for that I will face judgment," Sharon wrote, but insisted that his full defense would only be revealed before the court that chooses to try him.

It is possible that the trial of Omri Sharon will reveal evidence against the prime minister, which could lead to a reopening of the case against him and a possible indictment against the senior Sharon as well – something Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has refrained from pursuing until now.