Posted Monday, September 10, 2001

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Israeli ... police have already begun their investigation of Mr. Bronfman, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist.

Toronto, September 8, 2001

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Bronfman linked to Israeli probe

Mark Kennedy Southam News

OTTAWA - Israeli police are considering investigating Canadian businessman Charles Bronfman over donations he made to a group suspected of illegally funding the 1999 election campaign of former prime minister Ehud Barak. BarakOne Israeli newspaper, the Globes business daily, reported this week that police have already begun their investigation of Mr. Bronfman, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist.

But the Jerusalem Post quoted a police spokesman as saying while the matter is under study, a decision on whether to investigate Mr. Bronfman has not been made. It quoted a spokesman for Mr. Bronfman as saying his donation had been made to a non-profit group association called ROVAD, and was "completely legal."

Mr. Bronfman is chairman of Israel's Koor Industries Ltd., the country's largest industrial conglomerate. Koor chief executive officer Jonathan Kolber, a Canadian business associate of Mr. Bronfman's, may also be investigated by police for his contributions to ROVAD, say newspaper reports.

NetanyahuFor more than a year, there have been media reports of how Mr. Bronfman and Mr. Kolber have been questioned by Israeli officials over the matter. But this is the first time there are indications the police may get involved.

ROVAD was set up in 1997 by Doron Cohen, Mr. Barak's brother-in-law, and another businessman with the stated aim of encouraging immigration to Israel, promoting art, science and education and giving aid to the needy. But it is suspected by some that ROVAD was a front that funnelled money illegally into the campaign of Mr. Barak's Labor party. Mr. Barak won the election over Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

Last year, it was reported that Mr. Bronfman was questioned about four different donations in 1997 and 1998 to ROVAD. The donations were reportedly worth US$500,000. While Mr. Bronfman has not been accused of any wrongdoing, the registrar of Israel's non-profit organizations asked the philanthropist how the association represented itself to him. Mr. Bronfman refused to comment publicly, but sources close to him insisted he had no knowledge of a plan to fund Mr. Barak's campaign.

Related comment by this website:

BronfmanEdgar Bronfman (right) of the same family is stated in the Jewish press to have been one of the major financial contributors to Deborah Lipstadt, paying the millions of dollars that were used to finance her neutral expert witnesses to testify as they did in Mr Irving's libel action against her.
A Talk by Edgar M. Bronfman: "Jews and Justice"
Finkelstein lays into Wiesenthal, Bronfman and Eizenstat (in German)
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