'No immunity in Labor campaign case'

Police deny whistle-blower Shmuel Levy, claiming to have exposed campaign foul play, has immunity.

labor logo 88 (photo credit: )
labor logo 88
(photo credit: )
Police dismissed a claim that would-be whistle-blower Shmuel Levy, who claims to have new information on wrongdoings during the 1999 "One Israel" Labor campaign, had been granted immunity. Levy called a meeting with National Fraud Unit detectives on Monday, during which he reportedly disclosed how "cartons" of cash illegally raised for the campaign had passed through his hands while he was head of an NGO that police suspected was involved in the illicit fundraising. "We don't know where these claims of immunity originate - we've never heard of this," a National Fraud Unit spokeswoman said, responding to claims made by Levy's lawyer. Police launched a probe in 2000 following suspicions that several NGOs had been used to raise funds illegally for the campaign, but closed the investigation in 2004 after Levy refused to turn state's witness. Detectives have taken a highly suspicious view of Levy's sudden change of heart, and a police source said political or other impure motives could be behind Levy's disclosure. Levy is engaged in a separate battle with the Labor Party, claiming it owes him NIS 14 million for past services. In a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week, he threatened to take legal action if the sums were not transferred within two weeks. On Monday evening, Channel 1 reported that police had decided against reopening the investigation, though no formal confirmation had been issued by police on the matter by press time. On Tuesday, Ma'ariv quoted Levy as saying that he received "not envelopes, but cartons of money, in order to pay field activists. Huge sums passed through my hands." Levy also alleged that Barak's aides had met with known criminals to help "pressure" voters. MK Michael Eitan (Likud) called on the police on Tuesday to reopen the investigation into Barak and the charities, claiming Levi knew additional information that could bring about indictments. But hours after Eitan's announcement, a Channel 10 report claimed that Levi himself was questionable as a witness, having allegedly accepted payments from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's adviser Tal Zilberstein, who formerly served as an adviser to Barak.