Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit “is expected to announce that he will indict Labour, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Haim Katz on charges of fraud and breach of trust”, reported Haaretz. Katz is also to be accused of use of insider information.
However, according to reports, Mandelblit has decided against indicting Katz for bribery.
In order to file criminal charges against Katz – who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party – the Attorney General “must notify the Knesset of his decision to indict” and “ask the lawmakers to lift his immunity from prosecution so that he may be tried”.
Katz would then have 30 days “to argue against his immunity being lifted”. Such deliberations “could only be held once a new Knesset is in place following the September 17 election,” Haaretz added.
The case against the Likud minister relates to his relations with Moti Ben-Ari, “a businessman involved in the financial markets who was a financial adviser to Equital, a company believed to be controlled by investor Kobi Maimon.”
According to the draft indictment, “the relationship between Katz and Ben-Ari developed during the period from 2010 and 2015, during which they allegedly provided benefits to one another.”
Specifically, “Ben-Ari is suspected of advising Katz on the management of his investment portfolio”, and of having “advised Katz to buy securities issued by an Equital subsidiary as a result of insider information that Ben-Ari had due to his connection with Equital.”
“Katz and Ben-Ari carried out coordinated transactions of considerable scope through stock trades, in a manner that provided major financial benefits to Minister Katz,” the draft indictment said.
Meanwhile, according to the allegations, “in exchange for Ben-Ari’s services, Katz sponsored legislation that Ben-Ari himself drafted that would benefit both Equital and Ben-Ari personally.”
When the legislation was being debated in the Knesset, Katz arranged for Ben-Ari to appear in a committee hearing as the only expert witness, while concealing the pair’s relationship.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)