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Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff
Photo: Shaul Golan
Report: Austrian businessman mediator in Libyan ship affair
Arab media report Martin Schlaff mediating between Israel, Libyan charity behind Gaza-bound aid ship. German newspaper says businessman has close ties with FM Lieberman, Libyan leader

Businessman Martin Schlaff is the mediator between Israel and the Libyan charity behind the Gaza-bound aid ship that ultimately rerouted to Egypt following Israeli pressure and warnings, Arab media reported on Wednesday.

 

According to another report in a German newspaper, Schlaff holds close ties with both Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

 

Schlaff, who has been called "The only oligarch in Austria," is known for his ties with global political and economic leaders. Schlaff is known in Israel mainly as the hero in the affair of Cyril Kern and the funds allegedly transferred to the family of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

 

Schlaff did not attend his father's funeral in Jerusalem three months ago, as the police and State Prosecutor's Office decided not to let him visit Israel without questioning him on his involvement in several affairs, including the alleged funding of Yisrael Beiteinu's election campaign in 2006 through fictitious bank accounts.


Ship's progress (Photo: From marinetraffic.com)

 

Meanwhile, the Gaddafi foundation, which is behind the al-Amal ship, announced that the vessel has resumed its voyage towards the Gaza Strip, and not to El-Arish Port in Egypt as Israel Defense Forces sources had previously reported. According to the foundation, Israeli vessels are trying to block the ship.

 

BBC Arabic reported that El-Arish Port in Egypt had completed its preparations to receive the Libyan ship named al-Amal, the Arabic word for hope.

 

However, the network reported that the port said it did not receive any request from the ship stating it plans to travel to El-Arish.

 

IDF sources said Wednesday morning that the Libyan ship resumed movement, apparently in the direction of El-Arish. However, the military stressed that it would continue to shadow the ship to ensure that it does not divert to Gaza.

 

The Prime Minister's Office said it was being briefed on all developments in the matter.

 

Tuesday night the ship halted at the heart of sea, and sources on the vessel said this was due to engine trouble.

 

 

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