Ex-Barak Aide Says Has Incriminating Evidence on Campaign Donations

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Yulia Tymoshenko during talks in Ukraine about putting down pro-Russian protests in east, May 14, 2014.Credit: Reuters

A former campaign manager for Labor Chair Ehud Barak is scheduled to meet police investigators on Monday to give them what he describes as incriminating evidence against the politician, which pertains to donations Barak received for his 1999 campaign for the premiership.

The former campaign manager, Shmuel Levi, will go the headquarters of the Bat Yam Fraud Squad for a meeting that he requested.

On January 27, 2000, the then state comptroller said the campaign to elect Ehud Barak as prime minister had established no less than 23 fictitious non-profit organizations that had channeled illegal contributions to Barak's campaign coffers.

None of the people involved with these organizations, which boasted innocuous names such as "Hope for Israel," "The Movement for Better Taxi Service," "Citizens from Right and Left" and "Doctors for Immigrant Absorption," were indicted for violating the Parties Funding Law. Then attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein decided not to indict Barak.

During the six-year investigation into the Barak nonprofit affair, Levi was questioned a few times by police and by the State Prosecutors' Office, which reportedly offered to make him a state witness against Barak. Levi opted to remain silent and not testify against his former boss.

Currently, Levi is engaged in a dispute with Labor over NIS 14 million, which he says Labor owes him for services rendered. Last week, Levi sent a letter to the party chairman demanding he be paid NIS 13,619,605 within seven days for those services. Levi threatened Barak that he would sue unless he received the payment.

In his testimony before then state comptroller Eliezer Goldberg, Levi described himself as "a personal friend" of Tal Silberstein, a former adviser to Ehud Barak during Barak's premiership and currently an adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In an interview with Army Radio last month, Silberstein said Barak is "the last person to speak out on moral issues" in reference to Olmert's allegedly receiving illicit funds. Referring to Moshe Talansky, the Jewish-American millionaire whom police suspect gave Olmert illegal cash contributions, Silberstein said: "You'll find that politicians in Israel have many Talanskys."

Responding to this obvious barb, Barak dared Silberstein to "take everything he's got and go with it to the police."

Barak declined to comment on the subject when contacted by Haaretz. The Fraud Squad also declined to comment on the investigation.

Comments