The Hong Kong authorities are shedding light on the affair which led to the withdrawal
of Prof. Jacob's appointment as Bank of Israel
governor: According to the Hong Kong Department of Justice, responding to an appeal from Channel 10 News, Frenkel was arrested at the local airport in 2006 and brought before a judge on suspicion of stealing a garment bag.
Frenkel, who dropped his candidacy for Israel's central bank chief last week, insisted that the affair ended with an apology
on the part of the Hong Kong authorities.
But according to the Department of Justice spokesperson, Frenkel was suspected on November 19, 2006 of committing an offense of stealing a garment bag from the duty free shop at Hong Kong's international airport. He was arrested and brought before a judge, and the legal proceedings were completed on January 11, 2007.
Last week, when he explained why he had decided to withdraw his nomination, Frenkel continued to deny the allegations. He argued that "a person is being burnt at the stake unreasonably and so easily without any facts, only based on assumptions. A de-legitimization campaign began, even about the professional side, even about the integrity. I have been degraded; my name has been damaged."
The Hong Kong Department of Justice said in its statement that the affair continued after the arrest, and that Frenkel's legal team had submitted a deposition from his colleague and additional material.
According to the statement, Frenkel claimed he had wanted to purchase the garment bag before getting on the plane, but because he had to undergo a security check he asked a friend to pay for it and planned to meet her afterwards. He didn't find the friend, and the friend did not pay for the bag.
The statement adds that based on the documents and material submitted, it was agreed not to pursue the legal proceedings against him.
The statement stresses that Frenkel was not offered an apology and that the Hong Kong Department of Justice did not thank him for not seeking compensation.
Frenkel, 70, currently serves as chairman of American bank JP Morgan Chase International. His nomination
for a third term as Bank of Israel government was announced in June. He was summoned by the Turkel Committee on senior civil service appointments, which received information on the alleged shoplifting affair.
Frenkel claimed at the time that "the incident took place seven years ago and ended in nothing. The local authorities in Hong Kong reached the conclusion that it was an unfortunate misunderstanding and expressed their apology and appreciation for my decision not to claim damages for the misunderstanding."
His response to Department of Justice's statement has yet to be received.