Tshuva challenges Maiman: Forego EMG tax exemption

2006 gas-supply treaty between Israel and Cairo gives Egyptian firm a 20-year exemption.

By AMIRAM BARKAT
October 18, 2010 17:06
1 minute read.
Worker filling a gasoline pump.

311_gasoline pumps. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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Delek Group Ltd., controlled by Yitzhak Tshuva, and its partners in a petition against the state filed with the Jerusalem District Court are calling on businessman Yosef Maiman to forego the tax exemption granted to Egypt’s East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), in which Maiman is a partner through Ampal-American Israel Corporation and his private company Merhav MNF Ltd.

Last week, Merhav MNF said in a statement that EMG was eligible for the exemption even without the treaty that awarded it.

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According to Ofer Tzur, the attorney for Delek and its partners: “If the claim by the third party [Merhav] is correct, that there is no improper discrimination in this case, then we hereby challenge the third party: Ask for the cancellation of the sweeping exemption, which gives it a huge advantage in the naturalgas market over the petitioners, and remove all concerns about improper discrimination.”

Delek and its partners filed the petition after Globes revealed that, as part of a 2006 treaty between Israel and Egypt, EMG was given a sweeping exemption from taxes in Israel for 20 years. Delek claims that discriminates against gas produced in Israel compared with gas imported from Egypt.

Two weeks ago, Tshuva told the Knesset Economics Committee: “It has recently been discovered that Israel granted a 20-year exemption to Egyptian gas suppliers. Is it conceivable that, instead of encouraging Israeli gas, we should create discrimination?” He called on the committee to set up a work team to recommend “equitable terms for all gas suppliers.”

Merhav MNF said in response: “Merhav will have nothing to do with the campaign waged against it in Globes in violation of all ethical rules.”

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