Knesset Member Oren Hazan announced Monday he has submitted a libel lawsuit for 1 million shekels (some $260,000) against Channel 2 reporter Amit Segal.
In a press conference called for the first day of the Knesset winter session, Likud MK Hazan told reporters he is suing Segal for a “tsunami of false accusations” against him.
A June investigative report by Segal and Channel 2 news claimed Hazan hired prostitutes for his friends and used hard drugs while managing a casino in Bulgaria before he was elected to Knesset.
Hazan said the allegations were false and blamed the media for unfair treatment.
“There has been a campaign of lies and persecution against me, such as has never been seen before in Israel,” he told journalists.
In the Channel 2 report, titled “Prostitutes, drugs and the deputy speaker of the Knesset,” two Israeli tourists and a casino employee confirmed that Hazan would provide prostitutes for his guests in the Burgas casino, in which he held a stake. Both prostitution and hard-drug use are illegal in Bulgaria.
Hazan denied the allegations at the time of the report.
“I am sorry to disappoint you, but the sexual fantasies, sick personality and vivid imagination of yourself and of those who fed you [the story] are out of touch with reality,” he told Segal.
Hazan’s attorney Avraham Keren sent a letter to Channel 2 and Segal in June, accusing them of libel and demanding that they retract the story and apologize.
“Your intention was to injure — with no other practical reason — the standing of my client and his good name,” the letter read.
Following the report, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein blocked Hazan from presiding over any Knesset meetings “until further notice.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.