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Global investigation unveils alleged financial misdeeds by Likud MK Nir Barkat

Likud MK Nir Barkat speaks at a party conference in Tel Aviv on June 10, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Likud MK Nir Barkat speaks at a party conference in Tel Aviv on June 10, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Senior Likud MK Nir Barkat is named in a massive trove of leaked documents about financial secrecy in global tax havens published by a group of investigative journalists worldwide.

Some 565 Israelis are listed in the Pandora Papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, according to Shomrim, an investigative journalism nonprofit organization that took part in the investigation.

According to the report, the eToro company in which Barkat has holdings is registered in the Virgin Islands, despite the majority of its offices being located in Israel.

Barkat, while serving as Jerusalem’s mayor, claimed that his wealth was under a blind trust, as most politicians do. Yet the leaked data shows that much of his wealth was still under his name until 2019.

After Barkat was elected to the Knesset in 2019, he transferred the same shares to his brother Eli Barkat, despite the Knesset’s ethics committee’s guidelines requiring a “public trust company,” Shomrim says.

Barkat responds that “when he entered the public arena some 18 years ago, he transferred the management of all his business activity to his brother, and when he was elected to the Knesset, he filed blind trust documents alongside a full declaration of capital to the ethics committee and asked for its guidance. It is hard to disconnect the political interests at play in the publication of this ridiculous ‘investigation.'”

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