It’s been more than six years that attorney Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s chief of staff and one of his closest confidants, is convinced that what caused Sharon’s collapse, in addition to the blood thinning drugs he was taking at the time, was a broadcast on Channel 10 Television the night before, about corruption investigations against the prime minister.
In an exclusive interview with Yedioth Aharaobot’s weekend magazine, Weisglass relates, “According to a senior doctor with whom I spoke after Sharon had lost consciousness, it was a deadly combination of blood thinners and a sudden, sharp increase in blood pressure. The doctor asked me if I knew of anything unusual that happened close to the time of Sharon’s stroke that might have caused such a sudden increase in his blood pressure. He asked me if Sharon had been upset about something.”
Weisglass concludes: “The more I contemplate these issues, there is just one thing that I can think of, and that is the broadcast on Channel 10.”
According to Weisglass, it was an opening report on the news broadcast, talking about Martin Schlaff and the Cyril Kern affair.
The Cyril Kern affair involved allegations that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received millions of dollars of bribes from Kern, a South African businessman, and from the Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff, through Sharon’s sons.
“The report said that in a message given by the Israeli police to the District Court, the police confirmed that they are conducting an investigation of Prime Minister Sharon who is suspected of taking a bribe from Martin Schlaff. Sharon was very upset after he heard this, mainly because it was the first time this was stated explicitly.”
Explaining how he would know these details about the news broadcast, Weisglass recalls that Sharon called him up immediately after the show.
“I felt the tension and anger in his voice,” Weisglass describes. “Sharon would become hoarse immediately when he was nervous, and during this conversation, he was extremely hoarse. He asked me ‘What is this?’ I told him that I would check it out and started making phone calls. I got back to him and told him that it was an old story from a few months ago. Apparently, another businessman, James Schlaff, Martin Schlaff’s brother, came to Israel and was at his parents’ home in Jerusalem. Police arrived and confiscated his cell phone and laptop. The attorney for James Schlaff made a completely normal appeal in court, to return these items. Either the police or the state’s attorney opposing the appeal said that these items were required in relation to a bribery inquiry. This is what leaked to Channel 10.”
Finally, Weisglass recalls, “I told him, ‘Arik, it’s nothing, forget about it. There are no new developments here.’ But I saw that he didn’t calm down.”