Former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov entered prison on Sunday to begin serving a 15-month sentence for breach of trust.
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Misezhnikov’s sentence, which also included a 70,000 shekel ($20,000) fine, followed a plea agreement on charges that Misezhnikov had asked the organizers of the Funjoya student festival in Eilat, for which his ministry provided millions of shekels in subsidies, to hire Misezhnikov’s girlfriend, Julia Roth.
The tourism minister did not reveal his personal relationship with Roth to ministry staff.
As part of the plea arrangement, bribery and drug charges were dropped. The drug charges were based on allegations that, at several events in Israel and abroad, Misezhnikov had sent one of his ministry advisers to buy cocaine and that Misezhnikov consumed it at the events.
Under interrogation, he denied the allegation, claiming that it was a fabrication by an individual who had turned state’s evidence.