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Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

Mubarak to be Freed from Jail This Week, Says His Lawyer

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Hosni Mubarak, overthrown two years ago in the Arab Spring rebellion and jailed on charges of murder and corruption, will be freed from jail this week after being cleared of a charge of corruption, his lawyer Fareed el Deeb announced Monday, but murder charges still await him.

He added that one other charge of corruption remains open and that the case will be concluded later this week. “All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week,” Deeb said.

Mubarak’s two sons remain in jail, and the former dictator’s trial on charges of involvement in murder of protesters in 2011 is to resume next week.

 

 

Conflict of Interest Brewing for Lapid and Beer Company

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Yesh Atid and party chairman Yair Lapid are facing their first charges of unethical conduct following the revelation that one of Lipid’s advisers is a part-owner of a beer company that is due tor receive aid from the Finance Ministry that Lapid heads.

Hillel Kobrinsky is an adviser to Lapid and holds a 4 percent stake in Abeer Habar, the owner of Alexander Beer that is in line to receive government compensation for the recent tax hike on alcoholic beverages, the Israeli Globes business newspaper revealed.

A petition for disclosure of agreements singed by Kobrinsky has been filed by Globes under the Freedom of Information Law.

Lapid’s media advisor Nilly Richman countered that Kobrinsky and Yoram Bauman, who managed the Yesh Atid election campaign and also is an investor in the beer company, are suing Globes.

Kobrinsky and Bauman, through their lawyer, today sent a warning to “Globes,” in which they claim that the article implied that they were behind the measure that led to the decision to help microbreweries by exploiting their ties with the finance minister and for personal gain.

However, the Movement for Quality Government charged that the report raises “concern of flawed ethical conduct and raises suspicion of inappropriate and improper conduct…about the closeness of some of the owners of the dominant breweries involved in the process to the finance minister himself and to his party, especially when this has not been disclosed.”

Rabbi Stav: Get ‘Corrupt Politicians’ Out of the Rabbinate

Friday, June 28th, 2013

National religious Rabbi David Stav has based his campaign to become Israel’s next Ashkenazi chief rabbi on a message of inclusion, friendliness and tolerance. But in an exclusive interview with JTA, he had harsh words for those who have attacked him in recent weeks.

The attacks began two Saturday nights ago, when Rabbi Ovadia Yosef used his weekly speech to call Stav “evil.” Rabbi Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi spiritual and legal authority, said that Rabbi Stav, who has painted himself as a reformer,  is “dangerous to Judaism, dangerous to the rabbinate and dangerous to Torah.”

One day later, some Haredi Orthodox youth took the rabbi’s words to heart and literally pushed Rabbi Stav around as he danced at a wedding.

And then last Thursday, the man whom Stav hopes to replace, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, was questioned for fraud and money laundering and placed under house arrest for five days, preventing him from being in communication with other suspects and from leaving the country.

No indictments have been charged, but in Israel, public figures, especially those who are right wing or religious, are considered guilty until proven innocent.

Rabbi Stav wouldn’t comment directly on Metzger’s arrest, but said earlier in the interview that Israel “needs a rabbinate not ruled by corrupt politicians but by God-fearing people. The people of Israel want a Judaism that speaks not in threats and curses but in a pleasant language and ways of peace.”

He insisted that he only wants to make the rabbinate more user-friendly, not to change Jewish law. He’s against instituting civil marriage in Israel and won’t recognize non-Orthodox conversions. But the Haredi orthodox leadership in Israel doesn’t seem to believe him.

Rabbi Stav told JTA that if elected, he wants to strengthen the chief rabbinate’s relationships with Jewish communities outside Israel. One of his goals would be to push for a unified international standard of kashrut.

“The Israeli rabbinate is not just the top institution in the Jewish state but is also a formal authority for Jewish people worldwide,” he said. “We want a permanent dialogue with the different organizations and rabbinates in the United States and different places in the world.”

Montreal’s First Jewish Mayor Arrested in Corruption Crackdown

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Montreal’s first Jewish mayor and a Jewish former alderman were arrested as part of a crackdown on corruption.

Michael Applebaum, who was appointed mayor last November, was taken into custody Monday morning by agents of the anti-corruption unit, l’unite permanente anticorruption (UPAC). Also arrested was Saulie Zajdel, an Orthodox Jewish former city council member who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Canada’s last federal election.

Charges are expected to be announced later Monday.

Zajdel was a Montreal city councilor from 1986 to 2009. He also served as a director of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation for more than four years.

Zajdel listed his current job as a municipal affairs consultant and real estate broker, according to his LinkedIn page.

Applebaum, 50, won a city council vote in November to serve as interim mayor for only a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election. He replaced the previous mayor, Gerald Tremblay, who resigned in a corruption scandal that linked him to graft and organized crime.

A third man, Jean Yves Brisson, also was arrested Monday. Police say both he and Zajdel had previously worked in the local electoral district of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dâme-de-Grace, which Applebaum had represented as either a councilor or mayor since 1994.

All three were being held Monday by Quebec Provincial Police.

The West’s New Syrian War

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

One day people will ask how the United States and several European countries became involved in mass killings, genocide, corruption, arms smuggling, and the creation of another anti-Western and regionally destabilizing government. Even if a single Western soldier is never sent, the West is on the verge of serious intervention in Syria. The choices are unpalatable and decisions are very tough to make but it appears to be still another in a long history of Western leaps in the dark, not based on a real consideration of the consequences.

At least people should be more aware of the dangers. As I entitled a previous book on Iran (Paved with Good Intentions), the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. People are dying and suffering in Syria. That’s true. But will this make more people or fewer people die and suffer?

So now we are seeing the trial balloons rise. As the Bashar al-Assad regime proves to be holding on—but not recapturing the country or winning the war—the West is panicked into sending aid to the rebels.  In fact, the government is merely holding the northwest area (where the ruling Alawite group lives), the region along the Lebanese border (with Hizbollah’s help), Damascus (where the best troops are based and there is a favorable strategic situation in the army holding the high ground), and part of Aleppo. It seems that U.S. decision makers are panicking over these relatively small gains. If the Syrian army plus Hizbollah tries to advance too far it will stretch its resources then and face a successful rebel counteroffensive.

Understandably, the opposition is demanding arms. If the opposition did not consist mostly of al-Qaida, the Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood, that would be a good idea perhaps. But since the opposition is overwhelmingly radical—even the official “moderate” opposition politicians are mostly Muslim Brotherhood—this is a tragedy in which the West does not have a great incentive to say “yes.”

President Barack Obama is said to be close to sending weapons to carefully chosen rebel units who are moderates. Now, pay close attention here. The Western options for giving assistance are:

The Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. This is Muslim Brotherhood type people including, most importantly, the Farouk Brigades from the Homs area and Aleppo’s Tawhid Brigade. Around 50-60,000 fighters in total who are autonomous.

Do you want to give arms to them? Weapons that might soon end up in the hands of (other) terrorists? Weapons to be turned against not only Israel, but Jordan, Saudi Arabia, U.S. diplomats, and who knows who else?

Or perhaps you like the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), an alliance of more hardline Islamist forces, including Ahrar al-Sham from the north.  Ahrar al-Sham is probably around 15,000 fighters. The SIF as a whole probably around 25,000.   These people are Salafists meaning that the Brotherhood is too moderate for them. They are the kind of people who attack churches in Egypt, who want to wage jihad alongside Hamas, and so on.

Do you want to arm them so they can establish another Sharia state?

How about Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise with around 6,000 fighters and reportedly the fastest growing militia.

Want to give guns to those who committed the September 11, 2001, attacks and the Benghazi attack? Of course not! You want the Free Syrian Army (FSA), headed by the untested General Salim Idris, who Senator John McCain met with. Now those are moderates who, after all, are just led by former officers in the repressive, historically anti-American Syrian army. And the FSA is just not a serious factor in military terms.

The West will say it supports the FSA; the FSA will be pushed aside by an Islamist regime if it wins, its Western-supplied weapons seized even during the course of the war. Moderates–even if we define radical Arab nationalists as moderates–don’t have the troops on the ground. It’s too late to organize and train a moderate force now. That should have been done two years ago.

On the political level, U.S. pressure failed to force the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated exile leadership to add the real political moderates! Even as financial aid is being (temporarily?) withheld the “official” opposition won’t expand its base. How about withholding all money and aid until they yield or choosing a new official leadership?  If the United States can’t stop–or doesn’t want to–the Brotherhood from dominating an exile leadership how is it ever going to do after a victory in the civil war?

Knesset Member Peretz Suspected of Vote-Buying

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Two Knesset Members from the last Knesset’s Labor party were involved in vote-buying in the party’s 2012 primaries, according to Yediot Acharonot. Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich named one of them as Amir Peretz, who ditched Labor to run with Tzipi Livni’s party in the January general elections.

She told Army Radio Tuesday that she knows that one of those being probed by police is Peretz, and the Labor party issued a statement condemning vote buying. The other suspect, currently as Labor MK, was not named.

Peretz vehemently denied the accusations, called them libel and characterized Yechimovich as a bad person.

Last week, police said they are investigating similar charges against Knesset Member Nissim Slomiansky of the Jewish Home party. Party chairman Naftali Bennett suspected him of vote-buying because of his stunning victory in the recent election even though he was not supported by Bennett.

Today: Avigdor Liberman on Trial, Key Witness—his Deputy

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

The case of the State of Israel vs. Avigdor Liberman is bound to divert attention on Sunday from the coalition negotiations and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s three-week long and counting attempts to form a government, to the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem, where former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s trial is opening.

After years of cat and mouse play between the burly politician of Russian extraction whose capacity to make enemies among Israel’s political class is only matched by his ability—until recently—to exact blind loyalty from his minions, we’re finally going to be treated to a showdown, complete with all the elements of a good political drama: hatred, betrayal, fear, and specks of corruption.

Liberman, the unquestioned leader of Israel Beitenu, a party made up and supported mostly by Russian immigrants (except for the man in the number two spot, Yair Shamir, who stands to gain a lot from his leader’s downfall, should one take place) is being charged with fraud and a breach of trust concerning the nomination of Ze’ev Ben Aryeh as Israel’s ambassador to Latvia.

According to Ma’ariv, sources inside the legal system are talking about marathon discussions and a quick decision—within just a few months—but there is no guarantee that it would be a quick trial. Which means that Liberman will have to stay out of government, while his rightful possession—in his eyes, at least—the Foreign Office, is deposited with either the prime minister or with a coalition partner who would be willing to give it up, should Liberman be acquitted, or is found guilty of minor charges that won’t stand between him and a return to government.

The trial will open at two o’clock Israel time (7 AM in New York). Liberman will sit down on the defendant’s seat and, after the indictment is read, the court is expected to determine the dates on which he would have to reappear at the same courtroom.

Liberman is accused of fraud and breach of trust during the appointment of the former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia. The indictment states that Ben Aryeh was advanced in the Foreign Ministry after handing Liberman confidential information about the investigation that was being conducted against the minister in the major case against him, known as the “straw companies.”

The Attorney General eventually decided not to prosecute Liberman on that case (no one would talk to the investigators), but to limit the indictment to the simpler “ambassador” case, which is why it is estimated that the trial would end quickly. Especially since the defendant is just as eager to be done with it as the prosecution. On the other hand, if a plea bargain that would have permitted Liberman to proceed with his interrupted political career were on the table—it would have been signed by now. So no one can be certain just how long this thing will last. And remember the cardinal rule about lengthy trials – they tend to bring up new information that often spawns new trials.

The indictment states that Liberman promoted Ben Aryeh at the Foreign Ministry in two major roles: one as staff political advisor to the Foreign Minister, and the other as Ambassador to Latvia. Although it is a relatively light case, compared to the straw companies case—which has been closed without trial—should the judges decide to include a shame-inducing element (kalon) to Liberman’s sentence, it could be a mortal blow to his political future, with serious implications on the future of the Israel Beiteinu party.

A kalon sentence prevents the accused of returning to elected office for seven years.

The key witness is expected to be a member of the appointments committee that decided to designate Ben Aryeh as the ambassador to Latvia, Liberman’s former deputy Danny Ayalon. Originally, while things with his boss appeared good as good can be, and no clouds were hovering in the blue sky of their friendship, Ayalon could not for the life of him recall any attempt on Liberman’s part to influence the appointments process. But after his boss chose the moment of their ride in a car together to inform Ayalon he was off the list of viable candidates for the Knesset—on their way to the event where Liberman was to read the list to the press—Ayalon experienced a miraculous memory recovery, complete with all the details of how Liberman actually did influence the process, and how.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/today-avigdor-liberman-on-trial-key-witness-his-deputy/2013/02/17/

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