Mazuz: Kern affair probe to continue

Despite Sharon's illness, A-G says public interest demands inquiry.

cyril kern 298.88 (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz)
cyril kern 298.88
(photo credit: Gideon Markowicz)
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said on Wednesday that the investigation into the "Cyril Kern affair" would continue despite the illness of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Justice Ministry spokesman Ya'cov Galanti said Mazuz made the announcement because there had been reports in the media recently that the investigation would be closed because of Sharon's medical condition. Mazuz met with State Attorney Eran Shendar and senior officials in the Justice Ministry and the police on Wednesday to discuss the investigation. Galanti said the meeting was a routine briefing on the developments in the investigation since the last status update was held. The date of the meeting was set before Sharon was hospitalized, said Galanti. Mazuz said: "Given the state of the investigation, the clear public interest in fully investigating the allegations against the suspects, among other things because of the identity of those involved and the amounts of money that were allegedly transferred, we must continue the investigation." A police spokesman said: "The investigation will continue, but beyond that I don't have much more to add." The "Cyril Kern affair" has to do with how Prime Minister Ariel Sharon repaid illegal campaign contributions of more than NIS 6 million to supporters from the US when he ran for leadership of the Likud in the 1999 party primary. The illegal funds were originally discovered by former State Controller Eliezer Goldberg. Sharon claimed that the money used to repay the campaign contributions had been given to him by his close friend, businessman Cyril Kern. But further police investigation indicated that Kern was not the one who gave Sharon and his sons the money, and that the Sharon's family received twice as much money as it repaid. In an interview with Army radio, former Sharon advisor David Spector said Omri Sharon managed straw companies that financed his father's campaigns. "I was hired by Ariel Sharon and was requested to do this by Dov Weisglass, who was behind the creation of these companies," Spector told Army Radio. "Omri Sharon is paying a very high price that he shouldn't have to pay. He has been convicted of crimes that are worse than those written in the indictment, and to everybody it's clear that it is talking about Ariel Sharon," he said. Yigal Grayeff contributed to this report