Shamed MK Has 'No Face to Lose,' Reporter Says in Response to Libel Suit

Channel 2 reporter's response to MK Oren Hazan's defamation suit says lawmaker has no good reputation to be damaged; Hazan denies drug, prostitution allegations.

Olivier Fitoussi

In response to a defamation suit filed by Knesset member Oren Hazan against Channel 2 correspondent Amit Segal, the reporter's lawyer said that the lawmaker has no good reputation to lose.

In a report, Segel accused Hazan of lying about his business activities in Bulgaria, which he alleges included illegal drug-related activity as well as allegedly ordering call girls for casino customers of Hazan's from a nearby strip club he had ties to; prompting Hazan to file suit against the reporter.

Segal's lawyer claimed to have evidence of illegal activity carried out on Hazan's part that are "unbecoming of Hazan's current status and position as a legislator and elected official." In his response to Hazan's suit, Segal claimed that there was no damage to Hazan's good name because he had no such good reputation.

Tomer Appelbaum

Segal's court filing accuses Hazan of enjoying his negative public image to some extent and cultivating it as a means of advancing his political career. The filing also mentions Hazan's suspension by the Knesset speaker after he mocked Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharrar, who is wheelchair-bound and has difficulty casting her votes herself. Hazan had accused her of double voting after another Knesset member cast her vote for her, a reference to a famous incident involving Hazan's father, who was himself a lawmaker for the Likud who was at the center of a double voting scandal.

Hazan's suit was prompted by allegations that Segal reported in June on Channel 2 claiming that Hazan had supplied call girls to a casino in Burgas, Bulgaria that the station said he ran. In response, Hazan sued Segal personally for a million shekels ($259 million) for sullying the Knesset member's reputation and for claiming that he used hard drugs. The allegations are baseless, Hazan said, and he was being targeted by the media.