Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Haim Katz

After waiving his parliamentary immunity, an indictment was filed against Member of Knesset (MK) Haim Katz, a former minister and a member of the Likud party.

According to the plea agreement signed with him and filed with the Magistrate’s Court in Rishon Lezion, Katz will plead guilty and be sentenced to a fine and a suspended sentence in the downgraded charge. The sentence is not considered one that entails moral turpitude, so Katz won’t be barred from other political positions.

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Katz was indicted for fraud and breach of trust. According to the indictment, Katz violated conflict of interest principles in his economic dealings with businessman Motti Ben Ari on several occasions and concealed them to obtain illegal economic gains for the two of them.

The indictment further alleged that Katz, a former minister of welfare, supported a 2010 reform to the country’s insolvency laws which was specifically targeted to help Ben Ari and his company, in which Katz himself was also heavily invested.

Katz stated Tuesday that during his 22 years of service in the Knesset, he has “acted solely for the benefit of the citizens of Israel. Among other things, I enacted more than 180 social laws and hundreds of regulations.

Explaining his actions in this case, he noted that about a decade ago, he promoted Amendment 44 to the Securities Law, “with the aim of benefiting the general public.”

“The charge against me is regarding the information I had to bring to the members of the Knesset committee in the circumstances of the case. I take full responsibility for that. For the past five years, I have paid a high personal and public price, because the process is the punishment, and I found it appropriate to reach an agreement and put the affair behind me,” he said.

Former MK Tali Ploskov appears to be next in line to enter the Knesset instead of Katz.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.