Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Knesset)
Officials informed Globes that Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is under investigation by the Israel Tax Authority. Over the past two years, the Tax Authority has conducted an undercover investigation of Neeman's assets, on suspicion that he did not pay full taxes on them.
Senior Tax Authority officials intend to ask Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein for permission to summon Neeman for a hearing. The sources said that the Attorney General's Office has known about the investigation for a long time, and that the previous attorney general also knew about it.
The investigation has mainly been undercover to prevent leaks to the media before Neeman was summoned for a hearing. Since the investigation began after he was appointed justice minister, it involves his income prior to his appointment, when he was one of the managing partners of the Herzog Fox Neeman Law Office.
Neeman co-founded the firm 40 years. It is currently Israel's second largest law firm, and it handles Israeli tycoons, international deals, and many public figures. Clients have included several prime ministers, among them Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Apax Partners, Markstone Capital Partners Group LLC, and the Kibbutz Movement.
The Tax Authority said, "we do not disclose information about investigations."
Both Neeman's media advisor Amatzia Bar Moshe and Weinstein refused to comment on the report.
Neeman was appointed justice minister in April 2009. This is his second term in the post; the previous time was in the first Netanyahu government in 1996-99. During that term, then-Attorney General Michael Ben Yair ordered a criminal investigation against him on suspicion of perjury and lying under oath in a false statement he submitted to the High Court of Justice, and providing false testimony and obstruction of justice in his statement to the police. He resigned when the investigation was opened, but not before contending that the investigation was a personal vendetta by Ben Yair to prevent his ouster by Netanyahu and Neeman.
Neeman was indicted on two counts of making a false statement to the Supreme Court in a response to a petition, and providing false statements to the police in an investigation. He was found not guilty in a lightening trial at the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court in May 1997.
When Neeman was reappointed justice minister in April 2009, he said that he was not out for revenge.
The media has lately attributed to Neeman bitter attacks against State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, accusing him of being trigger happy in indicting senior