Amir Peretz Faction in Histadrut Won't Report Its Spending

Members of the political faction founded Amir Peretz, former chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, refuse to cooperate with the Histadrut's comptroller. Histadrut's internal comptroller Adi Kendal says in a report released this week that the faction declines to present their financial report for audit.

Most of the factions presented documentation on the use made of stipends received from the Histadrut, Kendal says. But two factions, one being Peretz's, refused to even allow the comptroller to review their financial reports. As a result, the report says, it is impossible to say whether appropriate use was made of the nearly NIS 3 million that the factions received between the years 2004 and 2006.

A spokesman for Peretz's office responded that the two factions have already been audited by the comptroller, and no problems were found.

The comptroller noted that three additional factions in the Histadrut that he sought to audit were also unwilling to present their accounting books, raising concerns over how the money was used.

In addition to accountability and reporting issues, the report reveals some troubling excesses within the labor federation. Take the case of Sami Shoshan, the chief executive of a Histadrut-owned company that operates seven country clubs throughout the country. Shoshan earns a salary of NIS 42,203. This is in addition to a second apartment in Bat Yam that is rented for him by the company since he lives in Mitzpeh Ramon.

Or the case of the Shas faction's former treasurer Yehuda Ohana, who spent NIS 217,000 on a luxury model mini van in September 2006. The car's insurance was written under the name of the former treasurer's wife, Hanni Ohana. Shas chairman Eli Yishai was forced to intervene in the matter following the furor that erupted, and just a month and a half after it was purchased new, the car was sold by a used car dealer in Kiryat Gat for NIS 175,000.