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Herzog unlikely to be indicted in graft probe, police sources say

Zionist Union head undergoes second round of questioning, but evidence does not warrant trial, Channel 10 told

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on March 28, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on March 28, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog is unlikely to be indicted over suspicions that he received illegal financial contributions during the 2013 Labor Party primary campaign, police sources told Channel 10 News on Wednesday.

The TV report said the head of the Zionist Union was summoned for a new round of questioning by police 10 days ago that lasted about an hour.

But there did not appear to be enough evidence against the party leader to warrant a trial, the sources told Channel 10.

Herzog’s office confirmed that further questioning had taken place saying it had been planned a long time ago but had been postponed. “Herzog trusts law enforcement authorities and is certain that it will soon be proved there was no wrongdoing,” his representatives said.

Wednesday’s session followed an initial five-hour round of questioning under caution in mid-April.

The suspicions surfaced in late March and hinge on direct payments made by donors to members of Herzog’s leadership campaign. According to media reports, police have acquired invoices that show Herzog may have known about the allegedly illicit transactions.

Concerns centered on funding connected to a nonprofit organization used by Herzog supporters to manage a negative campaign against rival Shelly Yachimovich, Channel 2 reported at the time.

Among other things, the case involves the director general of a nursing agency who allegedly invested tens of thousands of shekels over and above the official campaign budget to fund the negative campaign.

Herzog has rejected the accusations, welcoming the investigation and calling the suspicions the product of “delusional political muckraking” promoted by the rival Likud party and “frustrated activists.”

He has repeatedly maintained that he is “calm” and said “it’s good that these things are being examined.”

In a June 2014 report, former state comptroller Yosef Shapira determined that Herzog had exceeded the limit on expenses allowed in the Labor Party leadership primaries against Yachimovich, but that he had not broken the law. Accepting Herzog’s explanation that an “innocent accounting mistake” had been made, Shapira decided against any financial sanction against him.

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