Ex-Finance Minister Hirchson Released From Prison

Abraham Hirschson was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to five years and five months for fraud. He served a total of three years and four months in the end, after his sentence was cut by a third last year.

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Former finance minister Abraham Hirchson was released from prison on Wednesday morning after the Israel Prison Service's Releases Committee reduced his sentence by one-third in December.

On his release, Hirchson said he was grateful for being released from prison "in good health and to hug his family."

He thanked his good friends, and refused to say who he would be voting for in the upcoming elections or to answer any questions. "All the other things, if I have anything to say, I will," he said.

A former Likud and Kadima Knesset member and minister, Hirchson was considered a non-problematic prisoner. He was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to five years and five months in jail for stealing millions of shekels from the National Workers Labor Federation and the Nili Jewish Youth for Israel NGO.

Hirschson served his time at the Hermon prison in the north, where conditions of imprisonment are relatively mild. He served a total of three years and four months in jail.

The former finance minister was convicted of executive theft by a Tel Aviv District Court. He was also found guilty of aggravated fraud, larceny, breach of trust, illicitly obtaining funds and falsifying corporate documents for embezzling some NIS 4 million ($1.2 million at the time). At the same time, he was acquitted on two counts – illegal funding of party primaries and illegal funding of a political meeting.

Last July, the Supreme Court rejected Hirchson's appeal on four separate counts of theft from the National Workers Labor Federation and turned down his appeal against the severity of his sentence.

Three months ago, a Tel Aviv District Court judge annulled a gift arrangement in which Hirchson gave three plots of land in Tel Hashomer and Ramat Gan to his son. The judge said the deal was fictitious, and intended to conceal assets belonging to the former Finance Minister from his creditors.

Former Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson after his release from prison, January 16, 2012. Credit: Yaron Kaminsky

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