Austrian billionaire wanted for questioning in Israel

Martin Schlaff did not attend father’s funeral due to longstanding investigations.

April 6, 2010 03:58
1 minute read.

Billionaire Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff chose not to attend his father’s funeral in Israel on Monday after failing to receive assurances from police that he would not be arrested in connection with longstanding investigations involving ex-prime minister Ariel Sharon and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Haim Schlaff, Martin’s father, was laid to rest on Monday at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem. The funeral was reportedly attended by Lieberman and former government ministers Aryeh Deri and Haim Ramon, as well as Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad.

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On Sunday the Israel Police and state prosecution turned down Schlaff’s request for temporary immunity, which was reportedly made through Schlaff’s representative in Israel, attorney Roee Blecher.

Law enforcement have accused the businessman of evading past attempts to question him abroad, and failing to show up for a meeting set up with detectives who had flown to Austrian to question him.

On Monday, the News First Class Web site cited unnamed associates of Schlaff as rejecting police allegations against the billionaire.

Schlaff is suspected of using shell companies to illegally fund Lieberman’s 2006 election campaign. He is also suspected of paying off an elections deficit run up by Ariel Sharon for the Likud primary in 1999.

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