Report: Ex-Mossad Chief to Receive $500,000 for Fundraising Tours for Israel

Shortly after his retirement this summer Haaretz reported an investigation into complaints against Yossi Cohen, involving possible breaches of ethics and information security

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Ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen speaks at the Jerusalem Post Conference in Jerusalem, in October.
Ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen speaks at the Jerusalem Post Conference in Jerusalem, in October.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Recently retired Mossad director Yossi Cohen is set to receive half a million dollars for two speaking tours across Europe and Australia on behalf of Keren Hayesod, the fundraising arm of the State of Israel, the Walla news website reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Cohen – who faces accusations of ethics violations – will receive roughly $250,000 per trip from the organization, which frequently hosts events abroad featuring former Israeli officials. While in Europe this October, he spoke at gatherings in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Monaco.

In a statement to Walla, Keren Hayesod stated that “the events in which Cohen was the honorary speaker were funded by local sponsors.”

Not long after his retirement this summer, Haaretz reported that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit was examining several complaints against Cohen involving possible breaches of ethics and information security.

One of the complaints involves Cohen’s receipt in 2016, during his term as Mossad chief, of $20,000 from Australian billionaire James Packer and failure to report the gift. Cohen has called the gift, which Packer gave him at the wedding of Cohen’s daughter, “an honest mistake” made in good faith, and recently told Haaretz that he had returned the money and hoped that the saga “is over.”

The police announced this August that they were opening a preliminary inquiry into the matter.

Mendelblit is also looking into Cohen’s involvement in a business dispute between car importers Rami Ungar and Michael Levi, over the franchise to sell Kia cars in Israel.

Cohen, who is now heads Japanese conglomerate holding company SoftBank Group’s investment operations in Israel and serves on the board of energy firm Doral Renewables, has also been accused of potentially disclosing classified information to a civilian which had the potential to endanger him personally, Israeli TV reported this summer.

According to Channel 13 News, Mendelblit received a complaint that Cohen, who stepped down as head of the foreign intelligence organization in May, had shared sensitive information with a flight attendant, a breach of operational security which was allegedly known to agency officials.

Earlier this week, Channel 12 News reported that during his last months as Mossad director, Cohen’s daughter was hired by an Emirati firm with ties to a senior UAE security official.

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