Sharon could face fraud charges

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's son complied with a court order to hand over documents sought by police investigating a series of political funding scandals involving his father.

    Sharon denies any wrongdoing and is ready to co-operate

    Gilad Sharon's lawyers brought boxes of documents to the national fraud squad in time to meet a Tuesday deadline set by the Israeli Supreme Court, police spokesperson Gil Kleiman confirmed.
       
    Police investigators told the court the documents could prove Sharon,75, and his two sons used a $1.5 million loan
    from a South African friend as collateral to repay alleged illicit contributions to Sharon's 1999 campaign for the Likud
    party leadership.
     

    They also could shed light on what police say was a bid by a developer, with Likud ties, to buy a Greek island resort with the help of Sharon when he was foreign minister by employing his son Gilad and donating to his campaign fund.

    Public support

    The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing and promised to cooperate with investigators. Before the handover of documents today, Gilad Sharon and his older brother Omri, 39, had insisted on their right to remain silent.

    "These are the documents we requested," Kleiman said. "We will go over them and see whether they are relevant to the case."

       

    Political commentators say that while Sharon's image has been tarnished by the scandal, he faces no imminent risk of
    being ousted as he still enjoys broad public support for his tough approach to a three-year-old Palestinian uprising.

    But a recent poll found a majority of Israelis would favour Sharon resigning if evidence of misconduct was unearthed.
     

    SOURCE: Reuters


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