Sharon case dropped, but son to be indicted

/ Source: The Associated Press

Israeli Attorney General Meni Mazuz has decided to drop a campaign financing case against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his top aides, but will indict his son Omri, the Justice Ministry said Thursday.

The younger Sharon, now a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, is suspected of setting up a straw company to direct cash to his father’s Likud Party primary campaign in 1999. Sharon was later elected premier in 2001 and 2003.

“Charges will be brought against Knesset Member Omri Sharon,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement. “The attorney general decided to close the file in all matters in this case pertaining to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on grounds of insufficient evidence.”

Omri would be charged with failing to keep proper accounts, accepting illegal contributions and other offenses, the statement said.

Mazuz is expected to ask the Knesset to remove Omri Sharon’s immunity.

Last year, Mazuz decided not to indict Ariel Sharon on charges of taking bribes from an Israeli businessman, overturning a recommendation from the state prosecutor’s office. An investigation continues into a questionable loan paid to Sharon’s sons in connection with the 1999 campaign.