A leading candidate for the next Bank of Israel governor has been accused of corruption in an anonymous letter received by his vetting committee.
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The Turkel Committee is investigating allegations Prof. Zvi Eckstein had accepted remuneration illegally for speaking engagements abroad while working as the deputy governor at the central bank.
The letter, which appears to have been sent from someone at the Bank of Israel, urged the Turkel Committee to look into conferences Eckstein had attended while serving as deputy governor from 2006 until 2011. Israeli law forbids officials from accepting compensation for activities aside those at the bank, the letter pointed out, suggesting Eckstein is guilty of violating the prohibition. Limited exceptions are made in the law for academic positions.
Eckstein has vigorously denied the allegation against him.
When I entered the job [of deputy governor] I received guidelines from the legal counsel of the bank regarding the legal restrictions on academic activity and my position as deputy governor and I acted according to them, he said . I did not receive any remuneration for guest lectures in Israel or abroad.
Eckstein, 64, is considered the second leading candidate for Bank of Israel governor after former Central Bank of Argentina Governor Prof. Mario Blejer.
He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota and worked as a professor of Economics at Tel Aviv University while simultaneously serving as deputy governor at the central bank. Eckstein is currently the dean of the School of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.