A-G intends to indict ex-MK Haneen Zoabi for corruption

Zoabi will get a pre-indictment hearing to try to convince Mandelblit of her innocence before he makes a final decision.

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August 8, 2019 21:54
2 minute read.
A-G intends to indict ex-MK Haneen Zoabi for corruption

MK Haneen Zoabi. (photo credit: BALAD SPOKESPERSON)

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced on Thursday that he will likely indict the Balad party and its ex-MK Haneen Zoabi for corruption relating to the 2013 election campaign.

Zoabi will get a pre-indictment hearing to try to convince Mandelblit of her innocence before he makes a final decision.

According to Mandelblit, Zoabi is suspected of forgery, using forged documents, falsifying corporate documents, money laundering and attempts to receive fraudulent benefits.

Also likely to be charged are 35 other Balad members, including former director-general Iwad Hussein and the party’s lawyer, Riad Mahamid, who collectively allegedly perpetrated fraud to receive NIS 3.2 million without properly reporting on the funds according to campaign finance laws.

The fraudulent documents were allegedly filed to the state comptroller from 2013 to 2016 as part of the obligations of parties to comply with campaign finance laws. They include 1,300 forged or falsified receipts to support their campaign finance filings.

According to a Justice Ministry statement, Zoabi and the officials forged the documents in 2015-2016 but presented them as dating from 2013. The paper trail they allegedly created was meant to cover up the true source of illegal donations by presenting the donations as a large volume of permitted small donations.

The statement said that the fraud was systematic and meticulously planned.

Both Balad and Zoabi slammed the charges as a “political crusade” to silence their criticism of the mostly right-wing ruling parties.

The firebrand MK was almost indicted several times for her participation in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza and for saying that the murderers of three Jewish teenagers in 2014 were not terrorists.

Balad officials admitted to some of the narrative against those involved, but said that what the prosecution was trying to criminalize were mistakes frequently made by all political parties.

They argued that other parties have faced administrative fines for campaign finance violations and that criminal charges were only being used against them because they were Israeli-Arabs and to hurt them in the upcoming elections.

Though not all details were clarified, the falsifying documents charges may distinguish the case as being criminal from routine fines that many other political parties face for campaign finance violations.

With accusations of politics motivating the charges, it is noteworthy that this week law enforcement took action against Haredi parties. As well, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Social Welfare Minister Haim Katz, both of the Likud, face potential charges.


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