Former Israeli premier Sharon’s son jailed for fraud

February 27th, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by admin  

Tel Aviv, Feb 27 (DPA) The son of former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon began serving a seven-month prison term Wednesday for fraudulently raising millions of Israeli shekels for his father’s 1999 primaries campaign. Awaited by scores of reporters, Omri Sharon, 43, arrived at Tel Aviv’s district court Wednesday morning, from where he was taken to Israel’s Ma’asiyahu prison, in Ramle south-east of Tel Aviv.

The former lawmaker for the hardline Likud and centrist Kadima parties began his sentence a day after marking his father’s 80th birthday in a hospital near Tel Aviv, where Sharon senior is being treated after suffering a massive brain haemorrhage and slipping into a deep coma just over two years ago.

Omri Sharon was convicted in November 2005, and sentenced to nine months jail and a nine-month suspended sentence in February 2006. But in June, he had his sentence reduced to seven months after an appeal.

He has also been fined 300,000 shekels (some $83,000).

He had admitted to illegally raising some 6 million shekels (about $1.6 million) - more than seven times the 820,000 shekels allowed to be raised for primaries under Israel’s election law.

Sharon junior did so by setting up fake companies, which received payments for non-existent consulting services, which in fact were donations.

He raised the money for his father’s 1999 campaign, which saw Ariel Sharon obtain the leadership of the hardline Likud party. As Likud leader, Sharon senior was subsequently elected prime minister some 18 months later, in February 2001.

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