MK Ben-Eliezer Paid $350,000 Cash for Villa

Ben-Eliezer was a leading candidate in the presidential race before withdrawing due to an unrelated corruption investigation.

Benjamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer at a Labor faction meeting.
Olivier Fitoussi

MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) paid 1.2 million shekels ($348,000) in cash for a villa in Rishon Letzion, a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel TV Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.

Channel 2 obtained copies of two receipts Ben-Eliezer was given for the transaction, one for a payment of 545,000 shekels and the other for a payment of nearly 717,000 shekels — both in cash.

Ben-Eliezer was a leading candidate in the recent presidential race before withdrawing when it was revealed that police were investigating him for corruption.

Cash payments do not leave an electronic trail. Another document obtained by Channel 2 shows a $405,000 transfer from Ben-Eliezer to his wife’s daughter, Talia, in New Zealand. The police investigation is focusing on the transfer of cash from Ben-Eliezer to his children, whose names and accounts they think may have been used to hide bribe money.

Ben-Eliezer’s spokesperson said on Wednesday in a statement to Channel 2 that the cash for the Rishon Letzion apartment came from an apartment Ben-Eliezer and his wife had sold. “The Ben-Eliezer couple sold an apartment, and in exchange money was put in escrow with a lawyer. We reject any attempt to create a false show. All payments for the house came from Ben-Eliezer’s own money,” he said.

The spokesperson also said the couple were victims of the lawyer they gave money to, who has since died.

“While the lawyer had the couple’s money, she invested it in the stock market without their knowledge and lost, so she transferred the money late and in payments,” he said.