Israeli lawmaker suspended over pimping allegations

Media reports allege Knesset deputy speaker was involved in pimping and drugs while running a casino in Bulgaria.

    Hazan, right, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, has denied any wrongdoings [AFP]
    Hazan, right, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, has denied any wrongdoings [AFP]

    Israel's Deputy Speaker of Parliament Oren Hazan has been suspended from his official duties after a report alleged he was involved in pimping and drugs.

    The report, which ran on Monday on privately owned Channel 2, alleged that the lawmaker, who used to run a casino in Bulgaria, had arranged to provide its clients with prostitutes and had used hard drugs during that time.

    "I informed MK Oren Hazan this morning that for the time being I won't be able to let him run the plenum sessions as deputy speaker of the Knesset, in light of the report on him on Channel 2," Israeli parliamentary speaker Yuli Edelstein said on Tuesday.

    "I am full of hope that he will clear himself of all suspicions, and I will be happy to apologise to him. But in the current public atmosphere, ethically - even if not criminally - there is no way he can run the plenum."

    Hazan, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party elected into parliament on March, denied in a series of interviews any wrongdoings.

    His lawyer also told military radio Hazan had a medical condition that prevented him from being able to use hard drugs.

    Following Edelstein's announcement, a furious Hazan phoned the Knesset speaker and threatened to dig up dirt on him and expose it publicly, an aide to Edelstein told the AFP news agency.

    Hazan had earlier said he would be unable to chair Tuesday's plenum session since he was consulting with his lawyers ahead of filing a lawsuit against Channel 2, a move he announced late Monday night.

    SOURCE: AFP


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