The indictment of a prominent Israeli businessman and Likud Party financial backer could have far-reaching consequences for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government. On Jan. 21, the state attorney's office filed charges against developer David Appel for allegedly bribing Sharon and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the late 1990s. The indictment alleges that Appel tried to buy influence with the politicians on two real estate deals by agreeing to hire Sharon's son, Gilad Sharon, as a consultant for up to $3 million. So far Sharon and Olmert have not been directly implicated, but the police are still investigating and have not ruled out further charges. Sharon had no comment. Olmert denied wrongdoing.
Edited by Rose Brady