Israel: State Cutting a Deal with Star Witness in Hirschson Case


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The prosecution is cutting a deal with Ovadia Cohen, the state’s main witness in the case building against former finance minister (Kadima), Avraham Hirschson. According to the deal, Cohen will serve four years and eight months in prison and pay a NIS 70,000 fine for his theft of NIS millions. If Cohen went to trial, he would face 8-10 years in prison and a significantly higher fine. The deal with be presented to the Tel Aviv District Court for approval on Thursday.
In exchange for the deal, Cohen will testify that from 2000-2003 he gave Hirschson envelopes of cash, on a monthly basis, each containing NIS 25,000. He will also admit stealing NIS 6 million from the Histadrut Labor Federation workers fund to assist his brother David in returning gambling debts. He also gave himself Pesach and Rosh Hashanah holiday bonuses and pre-travel bonuses on 14 occasions. The indictment also mentions he made off with NIS 23,000 as well as giving his wife a fictitious salary to the tune of NIS 400,000.
In response to the deal, Hirschson’s attorney, Yaakov Weinrot accuses senior former Histadrut officials of trying to place the responsibility for their illegal actions on the shoulders of his client. He added his client did not ever receive illegal payments – explaining he did legally receive money when he left the labor union, funds that were part of his payout agreement.
The indictment being prepared against Hirschson refers to the period of time when he served as head of the Histadrut, 1998-2005. He stands accused of taking NIS millions.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)