MKs suspected of unethical behavior

Private company allegedly paid for Aflalo, Avraham to visit US, Belgium.

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Calls for the resignation of Likud MKs Eli Aflalo and Ruhama Avraham were sounded Tuesday after the two were found guilty of violating directives of the Knesset's Ethics Committee. The two by traveled to Belgium and the United States in August 2004 as guests of agricultural export company, Agrexco, after the committee ruled that they were not to travel at that company's expense. Avraham's office released a statement that when Avraham undertook her trip, she had been under the impression that it was sanctioned by the Knesset. "We are not talking about a trip of pleasure, rather, an exasperating 30-hour flight in a cargo plane. But in either case the issue of Agrexco, to the best of my recollection, hasn't come up in the past two years," Avraham said. According to Army Radio, Aflalo maintains that he tried returning the money to the company, but that a receipt was never sent to his home. He also explained that a stroke "erased" the incident from his memory, but promised to return the amount of 1,200 dollars to the company. Aflalo and Avraham sat on the Knesset's Finance committee when they were invited by Agrexco on a sponsored trip to evaluate operations of the agricultural giant. The two presented their first trip, in 2003, to the Knesset's ethics committee, which ruled in July of 2003 that the two could not go at Agrexco's expense. Knesset Speaker, Reuven Rivlin then permitted them to take the trip, but only as long as the Knesset covered all of their expenses. One year later, the MKs traveled with Agrexco again, this time without the Ethic Committee's permission and at the expense of Agrexco. "These two MKs should not be allowed to continue in their positions," said a statement from the MK Ran Cohen (Meretz).
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