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Court: Ex-deputy Israeli Knesset Speaker Consumed Hard Drugs While Managing Casino in Bulgaria

On Tuesday, the District Court of Tel-Aviv gave its verdict in the case of a lawsuit for libel which Oren Hazan,  a Likud Member of the Knesset, who also serves as  Deputy Speaker of the House,  had launched against Israel’s Channel 2 News and their journalist Amit Segal. The court ruled that Oren Hazan had indeed consumed hard drugs and was the manager of a casino in Burgas, Bulgaria which were central revelations which had been made by Channel 2. 

The judge determined that Amit Segal’s investigatory journalism, published in June 2015, established it “has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, by testimony and  documents submitted by the defendant, that the plaintiff (Hazan) was the director general of a casino, despite his sweeping denial.” The court added that Oren Hazan himself consumed hard drugs and also provided prostitutes for his clients.

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Israeli MK Hazan Threatens Channel 2 with Legal Action

The court decided that the claims raised in the report of Hazan providing prostitutes to the casino’s costumers was “responsible, serious journalism that showed things as they were.” Furthermore, the judge determined that Hazan indeed ran a casino, opposite to his statement. However, MK Hazan was granted 40, 000 NIS ( about $10, 000 – out of the million he originally sued for) in damages for two instances in which Channel 2 News had claimed that Hazan himself sold drugs.

In addition, the court argued that calling Hazan a “pimp” was a valid journalist’s opinion based on the investigation’s findings. However,  it was not proven that Hazan himself provided call girls to the casino’s clients, but the judge ruled nevertheless that Segal’s claims to that effect were not t libelous because the journalist cited several sources to back the claims.

When the report was originally released by Channel 2 News MK Hazan had stated : “I’m sorry to disappoint you, however the sexual fantasies, the personalities and degenerate imagination of yours and those that supply you don’t match reality and the truth.”






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