Israel: Ex Minister Pleads Guilty to Corruption

The Tel Aviv magistrate’s court has indicted a former tourism minister who pleaded guilty to fraud and breach of trust in connection with funding for a student festival.

telechargement 26Former Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Photo: Michael Feigin, CC BY-SA 3.0)Ex minister Stas Misezhnikov agreed on Tuesday to a plea bargain in which he admitted that, during his tenure between 2009 and 2013, he allocated a budget of US$ 270,000 to a student festival in the city of Eilat on condition that organizers hire his romantic partner.

The girlfriend, Julia Roth, was paid thousands of dollars. The minister failed to disclose their relationship to the Ministry of Tourism and the fact that she was hired upon his request.

“Meseznikov exploited his senior public office and his elevated status in order to arrange a monetary income for Roth, thereby committing actions involving a breach of trust and harming the public,” said the indictment, local newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported.

Prosecutors asked as part of the deal that the ex minister be sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $19,878.

Misezhnikov was originally charged with possessing and using drugs as well as taking bribes. He was believed to have sent an adviser to buy cocaine for him which he consumed during official events in Israel and abroad. All those charges were dropped in the plea deal.

The case is the latest development in a massive two-year corruption investigation into Yisrael Beiteinu party, known as Case 242. Misezhnikov is one of 11 people charged so far.