Barak's Back - and Has to Disengage From His Business Interests in 60 Days

Reelected Labor chairman will also have to place his investment portfolio in a blind trust

The newly re-elected chairman of the Labor Party, Ehud Barak, will have to disengage from all his business interests in Israel and overseas, as well as his investment portfolio, within 60 days of his appointment as defense minister or to any other ministerial post.

MKs assume that Barak will be joining the cabinet within a few weeks, most likely as defense minister.

In addition, he will be required to file an accounting of all his personal assets with the State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstraus, within two months of his ministerial appointment.

According to an investigative report published in Haaretz on May 25, 2007, Barak has earned about NIS 30 million since he left the prime minister's office in March 2001.

Among other holdings, he owns a company named Ehud Barak Ltd., and another firm named Cardo Business Development.

The rules set down to prevent conflicts of interest for ministers and deputy ministers require him to sell or lease all of his businesses.

A newly appointed minister is prohibited from transfering such companies to their spouse, and Barak cannot give control of these firms to his partner Nili Priel, with whom he is living in Tel Aviv in his new high-rise luxury apartment.

If he decides to lease out his business interests, he can only do so to someone who has worked with him for at least one year, and the lease fees must not be dependent on the companies' revenues.

However, if they are leased out, Barak may regain control after he leaves the cabinet.

He will also be required to place his entire securities portfolio in a blind trust.

If he holds over NIS 200,000 in cash, those monies will also have to be placed in trust. However, he can keep control of savings deposits, and educational and provident funds he has accumulated.

But despite all these financial restrictions no one needs to worry about Barak: He will certainly not have a hard time making ends meet.

He will be taking home about NIS 70,000 every month once he is appointed a minister.

This will be made up of NIS 35,819 a month in salary as a cabinet minister, in addition to his pension as a former IDF chief of staff, estimated at NIS 35,000 a month.

As defense minister Barak would also be provided with an armored jeep, drivers and guards.