Personal Finance Issues Cloud Eve of Presidential Election

YERUSHALAYIM -

Even as the candidates in Tuesday’s presidential election were coming clean with last-minute disclosures about their personal finances, another cloud descended on the campaign as police discovered $600,000 in a safety deposit box belonging to Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who resigned from the race two days ago due to corruption allegations.

The location and contents of the box were voluntarily given to police by Ben-Eliezer, contrary to earlier erroneous reports that police found the box during a search of the bank.

Ben-Eliezer has denied any wrongdoing and charged that he has been the victim of a political assassination. His attorney, Nevot Tel-Zur, sent a letter on Monday to the head of the Israel Police National Fraud Squad to complain of “an unprecedented wave of leaks.”

He wrote, “Ben-Eliezer made himself available to the investigating authorities despite the short notice and despite the puzzling timing that the investigation was opened. But his good will and belief in the fairness of the investigation has been caught up time and again in an escalating wave of demonization, while many questions were leaked to the media before he was even asked them, and before he had an opportunity to explain.

“Matters reached new heights with a deliberate leak of a ‘police raid’ on Ben-Eliezer’s secret safety deposit box. This is something that should not be happening, because the visit was planned and coordinated in advance with the investigator after he voluntarily reported the contents of the safety deposit box verbally and in writing last night,” Tel-Zur added.

Meanwhile, the five candidates remaining in the race have been publicizing their financial holdings, though some less eagerly than others.

Presidential candidate MK Meir Sheetrit (Movement) bowed to public pressure on Monday after initially refusing to do so.

Sheetrit said that he owns five apartments with his wife. He said that in addition to the house in which he lives in Yavne, he owns a 300-square-foot apartment in Moshe Aviv Tower in Tel Aviv, which was bought by Mrs. Sheetrit in 2007 for $540,000 and is today worth NIS 2.5 million. He also owns apartments in Eilat, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Dalia Itzik published her financial statement, which shows that she owns three apartments, jewelry worth NIS 161,000, furnishings worth NIS 444,000, and two second-hand cars worth NIS 74,000 together.