Likud Lawmaker Strikes Plea Bargain Over Fraud Charges

According to the indictment, while Katz chaired the Knesset Labor Committee, he invited a capital market trader to testify before the committee without disclosing the ties between the two

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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Likud lawmaker Haim Katz at the Knesset, in 2020.
Likud lawmaker Haim Katz at the Knesset, in 2020. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Likud lawmaker and former cabinet minister Haim Katz will be placed on probation and pay a fine in a plea bargain reached with the prosecution on Tuesday on fraud and breach of trust allegations.

The plea agreement provides that the charges will be reduced to conspiracy to achieve a permissible goal by improper means. The agreement is still subject to approval by the court.

According to the indictment, while Katz chaired the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, he invited capital market trader Moti Ben-Ari to the committee as an expert to advance a bill relating to repayment of bond debt by companies in financial difficulty. But he did not disclose his personal and financial ties with Ben-Ari to the committee members or Ben-Ari's financial interest in the passage of the proposed legislation.

Katz was also originally suspected of failing to properly report 2.2 million shekels ($651,000) in income to the Israel Tax Authority that he allegedly made between 2007 and 2018 from seven properties that he owns. Some of these properties were registered as owned by family members.

Katz was accused of fraud and breach of trust in 2019 in connection with his dealings with Ben-Ari, but in February he was granted immunity by the Knesset. His immunity expired after Israel’s election in March, which was followed by the prosecution's decision to reissue the indictment.

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