Former Isaac Herzog staffer to stand trial over primaries contribution
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Former Isaac Herzog staffer to stand trial over primaries contribution

Businessman who gave problematic NIS 40,000 donation during 2013 campaign also faces indictment

MK Isaac Herzog of Labor walks by an election poster for then party head MK Shelly Yachimovich as the party holds primary elections on November 21, 2013 (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)
MK Isaac Herzog of Labor walks by an election poster for then party head MK Shelly Yachimovich as the party holds primary elections on November 21, 2013 (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

A former senior campaign staffer for opposition head MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) will stand trial over a problematic contribution during a 2013 party leadership primary.

Gilad Ramot, the businessman who made the NIS 40,000 ($11,400) contribution, will also be indicted, the state prosecution announced Saturday night.

Herzog, who lost the Labor leadership to Avi Gabbay in a primary this year, was initially suspected of involvement in the contribution in breach of campaign laws. However, in September 2016, police investigators said they were closing the months-long probe after finding no evidence Herzog knew about the problematic donation.

Ramot, who made the donation, owned a company, RPM, that stood to be affected by standing legislation in the Knesset. The contribution donation, allegedly facilitated by senior Labor party campaign staffer Shimon Batat, helped pay for a negative ad campaign against Herzog’s challenger in the primary race, then-party leader MK Shelly Yachimovich.

It was not reported in the mandatory filing made by the campaign — which was signed off by Herzog — to State Comptroller Yosef Shapira after the primary vote.

In addition, donations from corporations are illegal in primary campaigns.

The state has offered both Batat and Ramot a plea deal under which they would be convicted only of failing to report a legal contribution.

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