Justice Minister Amir Ohana (Likud) has been embroiled in a major public fight with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, over the appointment of a new State’s Attorney (AG Mandelblit Clashing with Justice Minister Ohana over State’s Attorney’s Replacement). Mandelblit informed Ohana that the next State’s Attorney would be the AG’s pick, the current Deputy State’s Attorney, Shlomo Lemberger. Ohana responded saying, “During a transitional government, there won’t be a search committee to help appoint the next person in this office. It is my job, according to the law, to appoint a replacement, which I will do.”
Ohana then proceeded to interview four candidates-including Mandelblit’s recommendation, and the AG has been fuming, threatening that should anyone other than Lemberger be chosen, he, Mandelblit, would challenge it legally.
On Thursday morning, TheMarker, the economic paper affiliated with Haaretz, contributed the first mudslinging story against Ohana, based on “information that has reached TheMarker.”
Before we continue, you should know that before his poignant clash with the AG, Ohana has managed to raise the ire of the entire Judiciary elite with his attack last October on what he dubbed “the prosecution inside the prosecution,” suggesting there was a privileged group inside the State’s Attorney’s office that’s pushing a politically biased agenda, and leaks internal discussions and investigative materials to the media.
Such as, say, an article in Thursday’s TheMarker, headlined: “The Young Attorney Amir Ohana and the Coupon He clipped in the Capital Market.”
Ohana protested the refusal of his rivals within the state prosecution to submit to a polygraph test regarding those leaks to the media, nor to investigate the source of those leaks. All he was asking was that prosecutors on the state’s payroll adhere to the same standards as, say, police officers.
A week later, Ohana used his Knesset immunity to openly defy a court’s gag on publicizing a case in which police interrogators allegedly abused the rights of a suspect, Nir Hefetz, in Case 4000 of the Netanyahu investigations, whom they were trying to flip to become a state’s witness. Ohana, who claimed the court’s ruling was bogus, stood at the podium and made public everything the judge and the cops wanted to conceal.
So the new justice minister has made himself a target, seeing as he was threatening an entire Brahman caste which has gotten used to getting its way in every walk of life in Israel. These elite prosecutors and judges have been in cahoots with the bulk of Israel’s media, which trumpets their talking points from all three major TV channels, on most radio shows, and in most newspapers.
So this Thursday morning offered a glimpse of what might be in store for Ohana. TheMarker was asking: did Justice Minister Amir Ohana illegally enjoy capital market benefits in the period preceding his term as a Likud MK? Then proceeded to suggest that “information obtained by TheMarker shows that in 2013-2015 Ohana participated in several bond issues as a classified investor – that is, a private investor who is eligible to participate in the early phase of the offering and to receive a discount on the purchase of the bonds (a distribution fee). This, despite his not being an institutional investor.”
To summarize: Ohana was enjoying privileged access to terms that were reserved to hedge funds, pension funds, and municipalities.
During the period in question, TheMarker explains, the law stated that a classified investor, meaning a client who is eligible to receive investment consulting services without the service provider being licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, has to meet two of the following three conditions:
1. He owns a total value of cash, deposits, financial assets and securities in excess of 12 million shekel; 2. He possesses capital market expertise and skills, or has been engaged in a professional role in the field for at least a year; 3. He has conducted an average of at least 30 transactions per quarter for the four quarters prior to the date he agreed to be considered an eligible customer.
TheMarker cites a source close to the justice minister who said “Ohana was a criminal lawyer who worked alone in an office in the area of Ha’Mered (Heb: uprising) Street in south Tel Aviv. He really does not have a fortune, and he doesn’t have that kind of background either. His parents are not wealthy, they live in Rishon Lezion.”
Case closed, right? How could this poor boy from Rishon get himself a special spot in the capital market? He must have done something wrong. Seriously, that’s the extent of the accusation. TheMarker lists the money market certificates accumulated by the destitute lawyer from south Tel Aviv at a discount reserved to folks who live in more affluent places:
4.7 million shekel in Delek Group, 4 million in Israel Railroad, 3.7 million in Mizrahi-Tfachot bank; and 1.6 million in Shikun U’Binui.
At which point TheMarker reveals that Ohana, who is the first openly homosexual Likud MK, has a life partner named Alon Haddad, who is active in the capital market and has also received the status of a classified investor.
The anonymous source, who is the sole foundation for the entire story other than the obvious leaks, who knows from where, insists Hadad was also a pauper. The source knows: “The two did not have liquid capital of 12 million shekel at the time.”
Could they have borrowed the money? Well, here’s where TheMarker writer Shuki Sadeh has to admit he has no idea, nothing but speculations all the way down. Because Ohana has submitted a statement regarding his capital to the Comptroller of the State, as do all elected officials in Israel, but those statements are not open to the general public.
And this is how one performs a lynching on an early Thursday morning with nothing but unconfirmed leaks and anonymous speculations. But this will not stop Israel’s media from touting this trash as if it were a noteworthy story.