Larger than life businessman Flatto-Sharon passes away at age 88

Polish-born Jewish businessman Flatto-Sharon made alyah to Israel in the 1970's to avoid criminal charges in France and became a colorful politician and developer.

December 7, 2018 08:14
1 minute read.
Larger than life businessman Flatto-Sharon passes away at age 88

Shmuel Flatto-Sharon. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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Polish-born French-Israeli businessman Shmuel Flatto-Sharon passed away on Thursday night in Tel Hashomer hospital, he was 88 years old.

He is survived by his wife Clara and his children Hilda and Yoav, the funeral will take place at Savyon cemetery at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Born in Lodz in 1930, Flatto-Sharon escaped Poland with his family after the German occupation during the Second World War and settled in France, where he became a noted businessman.

When French tax authorities began an inquiry into his affairs he decided to immigrate to Israel and was elected to the Knesset in 1977. His reason for doing so was that it's illegal to extradite a member of Knesset to another country.

Eventually he paid 41 million USD as the result of the original French inquiry.

After he made alyah in 1975, Flatto-Sharon became involved in building the first shopping mall in Israel, the Dizingof Center Shopping Mall in Tel Aviv, and constructing the new Central Bus Station. He and his wife became noted for hosting lavish social events for the Israeli elite.

In 1977 he ran for Knesset after establishing a one-man party and won. He was found guilty in 1979 of lying to his voters regarding housing solutions and was sentenced to three months of community service.

During his time in the Knesset he was able to pass a law forbidding the extradition  of Israelis to other countries even in cases where a valid extradition process exists.

He was arrested in Italy in the early 1990's by local authorities as the French requested his extradition to France. He eventually escaped from Italy to Israel wearing a disguise and dying his hair blond.

In 2000 he was convicted by a Tel Aviv court for fraud and was sentenced to 11 months in Hermon prison and had to pay 1,200,000 USD in compensation to the French company that sued. .

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