Former Israeli Minister Dery Gets Fine in Plea Bargain for Tax Evasion

Jerusalem court approves 'balanced' plea deal with Shas leader Arye Dery, who resigned from the Knesset last week

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
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Arye Dery arriving at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, on Tuesday.
Arye Dery arriving at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, on Tuesday.Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

Arye Dery, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party leader and former cabinet minister, was given on Tuesday one year probation and a fine of 180,000 shekels ($57,000) for tax evasion in a plea deal.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court approved the plea agreement with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, calling it "balanced and proper."

According to the indictment to which Dery has agreed, he failed to report the full proceeds of an apartment that he sold to his brother Shlomo Dery, thereby evading taxes on 1.55 million shekels in income. Dery also failed to report income from the U.S. American financial firm Green Ocean on which he should have paid 530,000 shekels in tax.

Dery submitted a notice of resignation from the Knesset last week, sparing the court from having to decide whether his violations of the law constituted moral turpitude, which would bar him from politics for seven years.

According to understandings worked out between the two sides, the issue will only be considered in court if Dery seeks to again serve in an elected office.

In response to the plea deal Dery said that he “accepts full responsibility” for his actions and that “the plea deal was made voluntarily.” Dery deplored his treatment in the media, however, and the yearslong legal proceedings.

Dery’s lawyer Navot Tel Tzur meanwhile criticized the state's conduct in the case. "This phenomenon where a person is questioned for years on serious suspicions and at the end of the day it turns out that there is nothing in the suspicions and then he is prosecuted for tax offenses, is an incomprehensible incident. It is a violation of human rights and of public trust in the legal process," he said.

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