The Israel Police recommend closing their investigation of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak for his part in the NPO affair due to lack of evidence. Police investigators recommend charging four former Barak election campaign heads with breaking the Party Financing Law (1973) in 1999. The four are former cabinet secretary Adv. Yitzhak Herzog, campaign manager Tal Zilberstein, Adv. Doron Cohen and MK Wizman Shiry (Labor(.
Similarly the Israel Police recommend charging other members of the Barak campaign team with involvement in the non-profit organization system that served as campaign finance pipeline for the One Israel party. The infractions of the Party Financing Law (1973) are only minor, and the maximum penalty will be a fine.
After over two years of investigation, the Israel Police National Fraud Unit completed its investigation of the One Israel non-profit organization affair, and submitted its findings to the offices of the Attorney General and the State Attorney. The investigation began in January 2000, after the State Comptroller's Report disclosed One Israel's methods of campaign financing through non-profit organizations.
It is suspected that the NPOs served to funnel millions of shekels for illegal campaign financing, alongside legal channels. The police claim that "during the relevant period, the NPOs worked counter to their stated objectives, which were educational and social."
The Israel Police's recommendations contradict claims made by suspects, that they relied on a letter written by Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein about the 1996 Netanyahu campaign. Australian millionaire Joseph Gutnick, through the Chabad movement, funded the "Netanyahu is good for the Jews" campaign.
In his letter at that time, Rubinstein found that the Netanyahu campaign had not broken the Party Financing Law.
The Israel Police said that completing the investigation was delayed because the investigative team had to carry out many investigations overseas. The file has now been handed over to the Office of the State Attorney.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on 28 May 2002