Long-anticipated indictment against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's son and confidant, MK Omri Sharon, was filed Sunday in the Tel Aviv District Court for corruption charges dating from Sharon's successful bid for the Likud Party chairmanship in 1999.
Taking sole responsibility for fraud, supplying false testimony and forging documents, Omri Sharon waived his right to Knesset immunity last month.
According to the indictment, Omri Sharon received more than $1.3 million in 1999 and 2000 from groups in Israel and overseas for his father's campaign, the AP informs.
“These sums are significantly higher than allowed by the party finance laws,” it said.
Omri Sharon was charged with violating campaign finance laws, forging documents and perjury. He could face up to five years in prison, according to the Jerusalem Post. Ariel Sharon's two terms as prime minister been marred by scandals over shady campaign financing and real estate deals, but the prime minister himself has escaped indictment.
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz had announced the decision to indict Omri Sharon on July 27, allowing him the legally allotted 30 days to muster a Knesset plenum to grant him immunity against the charges.
According to Moshe Negbi, who teaches constitutional and media law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, whatever happens, "Omri Sharon's political career will come to an end." He said there would be little political fallout unless Sharon stands trial, "but it seems that both the Sharons and Mazuz, [who hopes to avert a scandal that could implicate him because of his alleged shielding of Sharon] prefer a plea bargain."
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