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Former Israel finance minister charged with embezzlement

[JURIST] A Tel Aviv court Wednesday charged former Israeli Finance Minister Abraham Hirschon [Knesset profile] with embezzlement for allegedly misappropriating nearly $1.2 million [Ynet.com report] as head of a trade union between 1998 and 2005. Hirschon and five other union employees allegedly used the money stolen from the National Workers Organization and its subsidiary Nili to pay for personal expenses, including medicine and meals. Hirschon stepped down as finance minister in April 2007. AP has more. Ha'aretz has local coverage.

Hirschon's party, the Kadima [party website], is the dominant party in the Israeli Knesset [official website, in Hebrew] and is also the party of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert [Knesset profile; JURIST news archive], who also faces allegations of corruption. Last month, Israeli prosecutors alleged that Olmert took bribes [JURIST report] from US businessman Morris Talansky; Talansky later admitted to giving Olmert approximately $150,000 in loans and donations over 15 years. Earlier that month, police raided Olmert's offices [JURIST report] as part of a corruption probe.

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