Bar-Shira in court: I didn’t steal from Schalit campaign

Man accused of swindling donors tells court that he would fight for his innocence, even if it took him years.

April 4, 2011 03:49
1 minute read.
A previous Schalit rally [file]

Schalit protests 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Ronen Bar-Shira, the man accused of swindling donors to the Free Gilad Schalit campaign and other charitable organizations appeared in the Petah Tikva District Court on Sunday and maintained his innocence in response to an indictment sheet numbering 14 different charges of fraud.

Bar-Shira told the court that he would fight for his innocence, even if it took him years.

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“This case is the battle of my life,” said Bar-Shira. “I can’t lose this case. The eyes of my five daughters and my entire family look up to me. Even if it takes seven years, I will be acquitted.”

Bar-Shira pledged that he would not accept a plea bargain, even if the trial takes 40 years and that it was important for him to let the Schalit family, which he claimed put their trust in him, know that he did not touch a single shekel of the money that was donated to their son’s campaign.

Bar-Shira was indicted last week of a long list of fraud charges, alleging that aside from the Gilad Schalit campaign, he conned other organizations, including companies, kibbutzim, hospitals and charitable foundations, out of money amounting to hundreds of thousands of shekels, which he then pocketed.

The indictment alleged that Bar-Shira’s cons worked in two main methods. His first technique defrauded companies and charitable organizations who wished to donate to worthy causes like the rehabilitation of the Carmel Forest and the Gilad Schalit campaign. The second type of con worked by convincing kibbutzim and moshavim to pay him commission fees for funds he claimed he could raise for them.

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