Police recommend charging MK Hazan

Likud lawmaker suspected of stealing voting equipment from the Knesset.

mk yehiel hazan 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
mk yehiel hazan 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel Police National Fraud Squad recommended Wednesday that MK Yehiel Hazan (Likud) be indicted for allegedly stealing voting equipment from the Knesset. "There is an evidentiary basis to press charges against Hazan," police announced. Evidence was transferred to the state attorney's office so that they could make the final decision regarding the rest of the investigation. Hazan was suspected of casting his voice twice in a late-night budget vote in 2003. He allegedly tried to steal the voting equipment that could have served as evidence against him. At first, Hazan denied the theft accusations, but upon learning that he was caught on tape, he changed his testimony, saying he did not take the system's "brain." Hazan had agreed at the time to have his Knesset immunity removed, and his trial for conspiracy to commit a crime is currently underway. Hazan allegedly used his own switchboard to vote against the bill, and then leaned forward and voted against the bill again using the switchboard of MK Inbal Gavrieli, who was not present in the plenum. Hazan has argued that the double voting was the result of faulty voting equipment. That equipment was replaced in 2003. The four ballot boxes that the video allegedly shows Hazan removing were those his proximity during the 'double vote.' After returning the equipment, Hazan changed his statement, saying that he had been permitted to enter the storeroom by the Knesset Speaker. "On November 9, I received permission to enter the storeroom accompanied by a Knesset official. I was told I could examine the voting panels, but that I needed a special permit to inspect other parts," Hazan explained. "Claims that I obstructed procedures are untrue. This was all a misunderstanding," he claimed. A Knesset spokesman confirmed that Hazan was granted permission to inspect the voting panels, but only with the escort of Knesset guard. The spokesman added that he apparently removed the panels after his escort left the storeroom.