Peres accuses press of persecution

Vice Premier says he acted legally and it is up to the Knesset to decide whether the law has to be changed.

peres smiles 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
peres smiles 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Vice Premier Shimon Peres issued a statement expressing relief that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss decided not to open a criminal investigation and blaming the press for prematurely indicting him in the minds of the public. Speaking through his spokesman, Yoram Dori, Peres said he acted legally and it was now up to the Knesset to decide whether the law had to be changed. "After months of journalistic persecution and false charges of bribery, breach of trust and illegally receiving gifts, I am glad that the comptroller decided against opening a criminal investigation," Dori said. "The mountain did not even yield a molehill. It barely yielded an anthill or a cockroach." Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu responded to Lindenstrauss's finding that he failed to properly report campaign contributions by telling his party's faction that he "respects the office of the comptroller and the comptroller himself" and that he would "act according to his directives." Netanyahu's opponents in the Knesset distributed copies of interview published in Yediot Aharonot last month in which Netanyahu said it angered him that so many politicians were being investigated. He said that it disturbed him that "in the past, parties could steal but individuals could not, but now it is different." "I absolutely cannot stand corruption," Netanyahu said." It's against my entire outlook of work and advancing in life via personal effort, skills and risk-taking." Kadima MK Yoel Hasson waived copies of the Yediot Aharonot article on the Knesset podium, mocking the Likud chairman. Netanyahu's Likud rival, MK Silvan Shalom, will convene lawmakers from several parties on Tuesday to find an agreed solution for clarifying the campaign finance laws and eliminate loopholes.