Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has instructed police to launch a criminal investigation against Kadima Knesset Member Ruhama Avraham and Shlomo Tirosh, the CEO of the Agrexco agriculture products company.
Two years ago Avraham and fellow MK Eli Aflalo traveled to the United States and Europe at Agrexco’s expense, in violation of a Knesset Ethics Committee decree.
At the time Agrexo’s CEO told the State Comptroller’s Office that the trip was aimed at assisting Israeli farmers on the issue foreign worker employment and expose the MKs to Israel’s agriculture markets in the US.
But Tirosh’s justification for the trip did not suffice the Comptroller’s Office, which said in a statement, “No reasonable explanation was given as to the connection between the issue of foreign workers and the trip abroad; if the purpose was to familiarize the MKs with Agrexco and its markets, then no explanation was given as to why the MKs spent most of the time in the US but only one day in Europe, which is the center of Agrexco’s export business.
The comptroller said Tirosh should have been more attuned to the public’s sensitivity regarding such trips, especially in light of the fact that a group of MKs embarked on a similar trip at the Knesset’s expense only a year prior to Avraham and Aflalo’s visit to the US and Europe.
The comptroller also questioned Agrexco’s decision to send to MKs from the same party (both Avraham and Aflalo were Likud party members at the time).
MK Avraham told Ynet on Sunday, “I support any probe ordered by the attorney general. I am confidant that my actions did not constitute criminal behavior and I intend to fully cooperate until the facts are made clear.”
Avraham recently called on President Moshe Katsav to suspend himself due to the investigation launched against him over accusations of sexual misconduct.
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report