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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Police have not ruled out the possibility that Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson is being framed, a source close to the investigation reported Sunday. Israel Radio reported that unusually large deposits were found in Hirchson's accounts, and that he would have to explain the sources of the money, however he "may have explanations that will satisfy us with regard to the deposits," the source said.
Hirchson is suspsected of embezzling aproximately 10 million shekels from non-profit organizations.
New documents released over the weekend, however, have assuaged suspicions that Hirchson embezzled money from the NGO operating the March of the Living, an annual event commemorating the Holocaust that brings Jewish youth from around the world together with Holocaust survivors, the News First Class Web site reported Saturday.
According to the report, Hirchson did not steal funds, but merely gave cash to March of the Living representatives to cover their expenses abroad. The report also stated that the cash transfer had been recorded as required by law. However, it was still unclear how the recipients of the money actually spent it.
From Thursday's investigation of Ovadia Cohen, the former head of Nili, an organization that operated educational institutions under the umbrella of the National Labor Federation, it emerged that Hirchson received dollar-filled envelopes on the eve of a visit abroad in addition to envelopes containing tens of thousands of shekels that had already been delivered directly to his home.
Another suspect in the investigation said that senior officials in the National Labor Federation got envelopes before Jewish holidays containing cash as credit for the holiday.
David Cohen, who worked for Nili, and Shlomo Aroash, who was an envoy for the National Labor Federation, said in their testimonies that they had entered the room of Hirchson's Filipino worker and identified her as one of the people who had received cash-filled envelopes for the finance minister.
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz is expected to decide on Wednesday whether the evidence against Hirchson is sufficient to have the finance minister suspended.
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