Saturday, September 20, 2008

Comptroller to probe legality of Kadima primary contributions


The state comptroller will investigate whether all of the contributions to the primary campaigns of the four candidates for Kadima Party leader were legal, his spokesman said Thursday. "We cannot say whether any of the contributions were illegal until we investigate each one in detail," said Shlomo Raz, spokesman for State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

Of the four, the only candidate to have received unusually large contributions was Shaul Mofaz - $100,000 from Lucien Selce, $99,970 from Alain Matar, $18,000 from David Emrani and $50,000 from Yacov Menachem.

Those names and figures are on a list of all the donations made to each candidate that includes the name and addresse of each donor, as well as the sum given, that was published by Lindenstrauss's office.

The four Mofaz contributors are all listed as living in the US, although Selce and Matar are French.

Selce serves as board chairman of Arbel SA, which is involved in building and home equipment, railroad equipment and real estate.

Emrani is the owner of Pride Products Corporation, which sells a wide range of products including air fresheners, baby care appliances, disposable bags, paper cups and garden accessories.

Because the Political Parties Law had been unclear regarding contributions to candidates running in party primaries or local authority races, the Knesset passed a law this year limiting the amount that a contributor may give to NIS 40,000.

Under the new law, the time-frame in which the ceiling on donations applies is from 15 days after the end of one primary election until 14 days after the following one.

However, under the previous law, the ceiling on contributions applied for a period of nine months before the primary. The large contributions that Mofaz received were given in October and November 2006.

No other candidate received a contribution that exceeded the ceiling established by the new law.
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