Ben-Eliezer Failed to Declare Half a Million Dollars, Police Suspect

Police, Tax Authority investigating allegations the Labor MK and former minister, who dropped out of the presidential race, didn't declare the cash held in a safe in a Jerusalem bank.

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

Israel Police and the Tax Authority are investigating allegations that MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor Party), who dropped out of Israel's presidential race on Saturday, failed to declare half a million dollars that he held in a bank safe.

A police investigation over how Ben-Eliezer financed the purchase of a luxury apartment in Jaffa forced him to drop out of the presidential election, which will take place on Tuesday.

According to Israel Radio, aside from the loan Ben-Eliezer received from businessman Avraham Nanikashvili for the purchase of the apartment - to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars - which he did declare, Ben-Eliezer also had a safe in a Jerusalem bank containing hundreds of thousands of dollars. He didn't declare the amount to the Tax Authority or the Knesset comptroller.

Police and the Tax Authority suspect the safe contained funds from businesspeople and the former candidate's family members. It is not clear at this stage what the money was for or how it was deposited without being declared for tax purposes.