Ben-Eliezer is suspected of receiving illegal payments from businessman Avraham Nanikashvili.
Ben-Eliezer’s withdrawal follows the opening of an investigation at the order of the Attorney General into allegations that Ben-Eliezer received millions of shekels from various parties, among them businessman Avraham Nanikashvili. Ben-Eliezer is also suspected of failing to report these allegedly illegally received sums to the Tax Authority. Ben-Eliezer acknowledges receiving money from Nanikashvili, but claims that this was a loan that he has not yet repaid.
In his announcement today, Ben-Eliezer said, “It seems that I have been the object of a targeted assassination. From the moment that I announced my candidacy for the post, there has been an unceasing, aggressive and orchestrated campaign of smears and innuendoes against me, a campaign that had the sole aim of preventing me from standing for the presidency and serving as president of the country. With a very heavy heart, I have made the decision to withdraw from the election.”
Nanikashvili is one of the controlling shareholders in Shemen Oil and Gas Resources Ltd. (TASE: SOG), and is under investigation in the corruption probe at Ashdod Port.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com