State attorney may close bribery case against Ariel Sharon

Former prime minister, who has been in a coma since 2006, allegedly received millions of dollars from overseas businessmen

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Ariel Sharon (left) with his son Omri at the Knesset (photo credit: Flash90)
Ariel Sharon (left) with his son Omri at the Knesset (photo credit: Flash90)

A bribery case against former prime minister Ariel Sharon will likely be closed for lack of evidence, sources inside the State Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Sharon was under investigation for allegedly receiving millions of dollars from Cyril Kern, a British-born, South Africa-based businessman.

The fact that Sharon has been in a coma since 2006, and couldn’t stand trial, was a crucial factor in the decision, Haaretz reported on Monday. State Attorney Moshe Lador held a number of meetings on the topic, but the decision is not final, the Hebrew daily said.

Police suspected money was transferred to the prime minister through his two sons, Gilad and Omri Sharon, in an arrangement that went on for years, from 2001 until 2005.

Austrian casino magnate Martin Schlaff, who had financial interests in Israel at the time, was also believed to be involved in the operation. Police said more than $4.5 million was transferred in 2004 alone.

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