MKs vote to block investment in firms that trade with Iran

Bill stipulates anyone found to be in business relations with companies dealing with Iran will be liable to year in prison and fine of NIS 5m.

By RON FRIEDMAN
June 5, 2011 17:14
1 minute read.
Carmel Shama

Shama 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

With the Ofer Brothers affair looming in the background, the Ministerial Legislative Committee passed on Sunday a new bill prohibiting investment in companies that trade with Iran.

The bill, sponsored by Likud MK Carmel Schama Hacohen and co-signed by 15 MKs from across the political spectrum, aims to apply an existing law prohibiting banks and other financial institutions from investing in companies that trade with Iran, to all public and private companies as well as to private individuals. The bill stipulates that anyone found to be in business relations with such companies will be liable to a year’s prison sentence and a fine of NIS 5 million, or three times the amount the investor earned from dealings with Iran, whichever amount is higher.

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The bill passed and will go through the Knesset’s legislation process in coordination with the government.

Following announcement of the committee’s decision, Schama-Hacohen said, “The bill, which was submitted months ago and the government’s support of it, proves that the recent activity surrounding the Tanker Pacific affair was over Iran and not over the Ofer brothers. Israel must be in line with the international community, led by the US in their effort to halt the Iranian nuclear program, which threatens our existence.”

Last month the US State Department announced it was placing sanctions on the Ofer Brothers Group and their subsidiary Tanker Pacific, for failing to do due diligence before selling a tanker to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

An inter-ministerial committee has been working for six months on producing a list of companies that do business with Iran, and setting guidelines and punishments for those who invest in them, but despite the fact that the original law was passed over two years ago, the list has yet to be completed and therefore the law has yet to be implemented.


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