Shimon Sheves received news of yesterday's Supreme Court's decision to convict him during a business trip in Bucharest, where over the last year he has been directing the election campaign of the ruling Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD) for parliament and the presidency.
Sheves, the former director general of the Prime Minister's Office, is partners with Tal Zilberstein, former prime minister Ehud Barak's strategic advisor, and Yisrael Gat, former head of the Labor party's international department and an expert on Romania's internal affairs. The Israeli team enlisted the help of James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, Barak's former advisors. Sunday's election in Romania justified the Israelis' reputation. The Social Democratic Party won the parliamentary election, and the party's leader, Adrian Nastase, won the presidential election.
But because the results weren't clear, a runoff vote will take place on December 12 against the second candidate, the mayor of Bucharest. Yesterday Sheves continued on to another European state where elections are scheduled.
Sheves and Zilberstein, and the group of American consultants, decided to work in countries which recently joined the European Union, and offer their expertise in building party institutions in countries that lack a strong democratic heritage.
"Our most important recommendation to the Romanian ruling party was to involve the trade unions in the elections and in the party government, and to create a farmer's section and include it in building the party," said Gat.
Over the past few years, Sheves has told his associates that the best thing that happened to him was entering international business. He doesn't conceal the fact of his success. Three years ago he created the Washington firm RSLB, with Yuval Rabin, son of the late Yitzhak Rabin, former chief of staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak, and Gil Birger, former attache in the Israeli embassy for economic affairs.
The company's Web site says it is involved in lobbying and business development with foreign government agencies and private firms that deal with internal security issues. Among the company's clients are the Bulgarian Finance Ministry and the government of the Ivory Coast.
In the summer of 2002, the company helped Gilat Satellite Networks win two contracts from the Colombian government worth $67 million dollars. In July the newly elected Serbian prime minister, Boris Tadic, visited Washington to talk to the administration about financial aid and armaments. He also found time to meet with Shahak, Sheves, Rabin and Birger, to find out how they can help him promote his country's interests in the U.S. Congress and in the Pentagon.