Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his wife, Nili Priel, are putting their modest, 31st-floor, 350-square-meter apartment in Tel Aviv's Akirov Towers up for sale.

If they get their NIS 40 million asking price, they will set a record for Tel Aviv high-rise homes, at over NIS 100,000 per square meter. It will also net the couple a tidy profit: In late 2003 Barak bought the dig for just $2.3 million.

Barak has drawn considerable fire for settling into the prestigious address ¬ from which Priel ran the PR firm that made the headlines last week.

Last week, Priel said she would close down the PR consulting firm, Taurus, a few months after launching it, following the wave of criticism evoked by the enterprise.

Channel 10's report of the company's existence triggered criticism that Priel was using her husband's connections and position to advance her business.

Barak's bureau issued a statement on Priel's behalf, saying that "the company's activity was a continuation of my business activity for decades. It was in keeping with all the regulations and its establishment had been reported in advance to the authorities. But in recent days, I have reached the conclusion that this was not enough and that even appearances could be used to harm my husband, Ehud Barak. Therefore I have decided to close the company down. The Registrar of Companies will be informed of this in the next 24 hours."