Another key suspect in Hirchson affair pleads guilty

Hirchson worried 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hirchson worried 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Another key suspect in the Avraham Hirchson embezzlement affair reached a plea agreement with the state on Tuesday, in which he confessed to having stolen NIS 3 million from the National Federation of Workers (NFW). Former finance minister Hirchson is on trial in Tel Aviv District Court on charges of having stolen NIS 2.5 million from the NFW while serving as its chairman between 1998 and 2005. During the years 1998-2004, the suspect, Amatzia Boner, served as the accountant for Nili, a subsidiary of the federation which operated an educational system for preschool children. Boner had the right of signature for the accounts of the nonprofit group. The charges to which Boner pleaded guilty included theft, money-laundering, fraud and breach of faith, false registration in corporate documents and forgery. The state will ask the court to sentence the 70-year-old defendant to four years in jail. His lawyer, Eitan Ma'oz, said he would ask to court to be lenient with his client and take into consideration his age and the fact that he has agreed to return all the money he stole. Several other key suspects in the case have already turned state's witness including Ovadia Cohen, who served as the head of the finance department in the NFW between 1998 and 2003; Ronit Garti, who served as an accountant for the NFW between 2000 and 2004 and later became head of finances; and David Cohen, Ovadia's brother, who served as a delivery man for the federation and was accused of stealing NIS 5.5 million to pay off gambling debts. Under his plea bargain, Ovadia Cohen, the most senior official aside from Hirchson charged in the case, will serve four years and eight months in jail.