Nili Priel and Ehud Barak
Photo: AP
Virginia, the foreign worker
Photo: Channel 10
Barak's wife indicted in foreign worker affair
Nili Priel suspected of violating Labor Law; faces hefty fine or jail time if convicted

An indictment was filed on Sunday against Defense Minister Ehud Barak's wife, Nili Priel, who is suspected of illegally employing a foreign worker at the couple's Tel Aviv apartment.


The indictment, filed by Population and Immigration Authority with the Tel Aviv District Labor Court, says Priel violated the Labor law.


If convicted, Priel may have to pay a fine of up to NIS 100,000 ($28,000) or face imprisonment.


Priel and the foreign worker both attended a meeting at the Immigration Authority offices last November, after which it was decided to file an indictment against Priel.


Back in October, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein rejected Priel's request to pay a fine for employing an illegal foreign worker. "The case's circumstances warrant an indictment and not an executive fine," Weinstein's office stated.


A letter sent to Priel by Weinstein’s senior aide, attorney Raz Nazri, stated that the decision to file an indictment against her was made without any regard to her status and noted she is being treated as any other citizen.


Initially it appeared as though Priel would be able to avoid an indictment, as the Filipina worker, identified as Virginia, could not be tracked down. However, shortly after the investigation was closed, Israel Radio reporter Carmela Menashe tracked the foreign worker down and spoke to her on the air.


Virginian told Menashe that Priel had her phone number all along, adding that Barak's wife had promised her she would reemploy her once she becomes legal.



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