Knesset Committee Won't Probe Lawmaker Accused of Taking Drugs, Soliciting Prostitutes

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Oren Hazan at a party from time before he was a politician.
Oren Hazan at a party from time before he was a politician. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Knesset Ethics Committee announced on Wednesday that it will not discuss complaints against MK Oren Hazan (Likud) following a Channel 2 report on his days running a casino in Bulgaria before being elected to the Knesset.

Complaints filed with the ethics committee noted that the accusations against Hazan, that he solicited prostitutes for clients and used drugs, seriously stain the Knesset's honor in the eyes of the public.

The Knesset's legal adviser, attorney Eyal Yinon noted that Ethics Committee members do not have the authority to discuss Hazan's conduct before he was elected to the Knesset.

Ethics Committee Chairman MK Yitzhak Vaknin released a statement on Wednesday morning announcing that the committee will not discuss the lawmaker's past behavior. Vaknin added,"the committee wishes to stress that this decision is not intended to reduce the severity with which Hazan's supposed actions are viewed, if they indeed occurred."

"In light of the circumstances created after the allegations against Hazan were made public, and the harm done to the Knesset's honor, the committee feels that the Knesset chairman's decision to prohibit Hazan from presiding over Knesset plenum meetings is appropriate."

Oren Hazan's attorney, Zion Amir, said in response "the Knesset's legal adviser examined the situation and decided that the Ethics Committee does not have the authority to discuss past events. Certainly not baseless, unproven events." He added that "it is now clear that things should be restored to the way they were and that MK Hazan should be allowed to preside over Knesset meetings and fulfill his duties in full."

In June, Channel 2 aired a report claiming that Hazan used drugs and coordinated escort services for clients at the casino he managed in Bulgaria before entering politics.

In one of the documents published by the channel, Hazan signs off as the director-general of the Gold casino, which he has in the past denied owning. A worker in the casino even told the television channel that there were business ties between Hazan's casino and the Red Rose strip club.

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