Head of Arab Party caught in Money Laundering Scandal: Investigation demanded
Zionist groups called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to open an investigation following a report that Joint List head Ayman Odeh received illegal funds from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2018.
According to the report revealed last week on Channel 20, Odeh received approximately $20,000 in cash from senior PLO member Ramzi Khuri.
Khuri, who previously served as bureau chief for PLO head Yasser Arafat, currently serves as treasurer for the Palestinian National Fund, the finance arm of the PLO. In 2017, Israel outlawed the Fund and declared it a terrorist organization due to its financing of terrorist activities.
According to the report, the meeting between the two took place in Paris, France, while Odeh – then head of the Hadash Party – was attending a conference organized by UNESCO. Khuri later told associates that the funds were a campaign donation for Hadash.
In light of the report, several Zionist groups including Im Tirtzu, Lavi and the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families sent letters to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and called on him to open an investigation. Lt. Col. (Res.) Maurice Hirsch, former IDF Chief Military Prosecutor for Judea and Samaria, also urged the Attorney General to look into the matter.
According to the groups, Odeh allegedly violated the Counter-Terrorism Law, the Prohibition on Money Laundering Law and the Campaign Finance Law. The groups also noted that Odeh is allegedly guilty of tax evasion for not reporting the income.
Baruch Yadid, head of Channel 20’s Arab Affairs Desk who uncovered the story, noted that Palestinian officials have been involved in encouraging Israeli-Arab citizens to vote for the Joint List.
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg commended Yadid, who was among the founders of Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk, on exposing the story and said that “this is a serious matter that must be investigated immediately.”
“It is inconceivable,” continued Peleg, “that a member of Knesset is allegedly receiving funds from an entity that was designated as a terrorist organization yet the matter is not being looked into by the Attorney General.”
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