Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Then-Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, December 20, 2020.

Aryeh Deri, head of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party, has signed a plea bargain arrangement with Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, that will force him to resign from his position in the Knesset.

Report: Shas Party Chair Aryeh Deri Again Faces Conviction

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Under the deal, Deri will plead guilty to charges of committing two unintentional tax offenses and will be required to pay a NIS 180,000 fine, Israel’s Channel N12 News reported Wednesday evening.

The Shas chairperson will not serve prison time, nor will he have to do any community service. He will be able to run again for the Knesset in the next round of Israeli elections since there will be no discussion about “disgrace.”

According to Channel N12, the tax offenses Deri is accused of relate to three different cases:
1. A real estate transaction from 2013 in which he sold a Jerusalem property (Givat Shaul neighborhood) to his brother Shlomo, and from which false reports were allegedly sent to the real estate tax authorities.
2. Income from the US investment fund “Green Ocean,” which paid Deri a commission for recruiting an investor to the fund; when he returned to political life in 2013, Deri ordered the investment fund to transfer NIS 630,000 in commissions to his brother Shlomo on alleged “consulting” invoices produced by Shlomo Deri’s office.
3. Income from an Egged subsidiary and businessperson Moshe Haba; Deri allegedly asked to receive a salary from a joint venture between Haba and Egged consulting and marketing services in 2012 as a donation of NIS 180,000 to be paid to the “Carmel Ha’ir Association,” which belongs to Deri’s associate, Yehuda Azrad.

The investigation against Deri was opened about six years ago and at that time, included charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and tax offenses. Mandelblit subsequently decided to prosecute the former Interior Minister solely on charges of tax violations, subject to a hearing, saying there was not enough evidence to support the other charges.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.