Hirchson to Appeal Conviction, Alleging Factual, Legal Errors

Former finance minister Abraham Hirchson, who was convicted of embezzling NIS 1.8 million from the National Workers' Organization, will appeal to the Supreme Court today against his conviction and sentencing by the Tel Aviv District Court. Hirchson was sentenced to five years and five months in prison, and has already started serving the prison term.

In his appeal, he will contend that a portion of the district court judgment convicting him was based on serious mistakes regarding both the facts and the applicable law. He will also argue that substantive contradictions in the evidence require his conviction on charges of theft and money laundering to be reversed.

In light of these alleged mistakes, the former finance minister will ask that his sentence on the remaining charges be reduced.

Hirchson was convicted of stealing funds from the National Workers' Organization, which he headed, through various means: monthly payments of NIS 25,000 in cash, "holiday grants" of NIS 10,000 to NIS 30,000, cash payments of $2,000 to $3,000 for every trip he took abroad, and improper reimbursements for expenses. His appeal will allege that the court committed errors in its judgment regarding several of these payments.

The former minister says even the prosecutors have acknowledged that the monthly payments were instead of a salary during a period when Hirchson was barred from receiving an additional salary because he was a sitting Knesset member. His appeal will argue that the district court ignored the legal question of whether funds paid for work performed could be the basis of a theft conviction.

Another matter he plans to raise on appeal is his contention that he was not present at the meeting at which distribution of the holiday payments was first discussed.