Likud MK Oren Hazan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) admitted in a deposition made as part of his NIS 1 million defamation suit against reporter Amit Segal and Channel 2 News that some allegations against him in a report about his time working at a casino in Borgas, Bulgaria, are true.
Hazan, 34, acknowledged that he illegally worked in Bulgaria, saying he was employed at Casino Gold, and not at a hotel as he had previously claimed. In addition, the rookie Likud MK said he frequented striptease clubs “only to drink beer.”
He denied allegations that he helped the casino’s patrons hire prostitutes and buy drugs.
“My friends did drugs in South America 13 years ago, and in Israel I’ve met people who use medical cannabis,” he said. “My medical situation does not allow me to snort or smoke… other than a hookah on rare occasions.
Last time was a year ago. I tried cigars twice in my life without inhaling.”
Segal, through his lawyers, said: “[Hazan] is an elected official who tried to hide important facts about his dubious past from the public.
The claims published in the investigative report about the plaintiff are the truth and in the public’s interest to know, and were publicized according to professional standards of responsible journalism.”
The lawyers cited 11 scandals in which Hazan has been involved, including his being suspended from all Knesset activities but voting for mocking MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who uses a wheelchair because she has muscular dystrophy.
“Examining Hazan’s behavior over time brings up the theory that he enjoys, to some extent, the negative image his actions and behavior created in the public, and he encourages and strengthens it as a tool for political promotion,” they said.
In the Channel 2 report, broadcast in June, Israeli tourists recounted snorting crystal meth with Hazan at Casino Gold, and said he procured prostitutes for them from the nearby Red Roses strip club.
The report featured a recording of a phone call with a man claiming to be Hazan’s chauffeur, who said he would drive to Red Roses and ask for “good-looking girls with big tits” to escort to the casino.
The report included a video of a woman who Segal said is the madam of Red Roses who called Hazan “Oren the Big Boss.” She corroborated the accounts of Hazan bringing prostitutes to Casino Gold, and giggled when told that the “big boss” is now a member of Knesset.