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Police drop corruption probe into Israel envoy Danon

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council in New York, US [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council in New York, US [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli police have closed an investigation into Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, citing insufficient evidence of corruption, the Times of Israel has reported.

Danon has been investigated since last November on suspicion of widespread political corruption to further his career prior to his appointment as UN envoy, after an exposé on Israeli channel Hadashot TV. The report claimed that Danon had attained a position in a department of the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) intended to promote Zionism, but instead appointed various individuals and their relatives to high paying positions and used public funds to garner support for his Likud election bid.

Danon won the chairmanship of the World Likud organisation, a branch of WZO, in 2006 and held the post until 2015. His position, according to Hadashot TV, gave him significant influence over appointments and budgets for national institutions, leading to his hiring of associate Yaakov Hagoel to lead a division of 30 employees.

It is believed that under this division Hagoel hired Likud workers, paying some thousands of shekels for only a few hours work, on the condition that they would be loyal to Danon in the future. Conversely, those who did not vote for Danon were removed from their positions, the report claimed.

The WZO and Danon have denied the accusations, with the latter claiming he did not get enough time to respond to the charges made against him.

Read: Israel hosts 20% of UN ambassadors to show ‘historic’ link to land

Danon is not the only Israeli politician to be facing allegations of corruption. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family have been investigated for four cases over the past year, on suspicion of bribery, corruption and fraud.

The police have already recommended for Netanyahu to be indicted with regard to two of the cases: Case 1,000 detailing other allegations of bribery with prominent businessmen, and Case 2,000, in which he faces allegations of negotiating a deal for more favourable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of popular Hebrew language newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. It is alleged that Netanyahu tried to negotiate a deal with Mozes, offering legislation that would impede the activities of Mozes’ rival paper, Israel Hayom, in return for positive coverage of the prime minister and his policies.

The prime minister has also been questioned recently over two other investigations: Case 3,000, also known as the “submarine scandal,” albeit not as a suspect, and Case 4,000, which alleges that Netanyahu granted favours to Israeli telecom giant Bezeq in return for favourable media coverage by Walla News, which belongs to Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch.

Last month, prosecutors revealed that the prime minister’s wife and son were also being investigated for direct involvement in the Bezeq deal on suspicion of acting as emissaries.

Read: Police question Israel PM for corruption for tenth time

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