- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2003

JERUSALEM (Agence France-Presse) — Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein yesterday accused Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son, Gilad, of abusing his father’s parliamentary immunity in a sharp escalation of the graft scandal surrounding the first family.

The Jewish state’s top legal officer also spoke out on public radio against Gilad Sharon’s decision Thursday to decline to answer questions in an official inquiry into the “Greek island” affair.

Gilad Sharon is accused of receiving kickbacks worth tens of thousands of dollars from a property developer close to hard-line Israeli parties to help promote a Greek island vacation development.

Mr. Rubinstein told public radio that Gilad Sharon had “exploited his father’s parliamentary immunity as police were unable to search the family house.”

The younger Mr. Sharon refused to answer questions during a three-hour police interview over his links with promoter David Appel, the radio said.

He is accused of receiving the money from Mr. Appel during the 1990s to promote the construction of a tourist complex on a Greek island destined to appeal to Israeli vacationers.

Police say Mr. Appel promised Gilad Sharon a larger sum if they clinched the deal, which did not materialize.

At the time, Ariel Sharon was foreign minister and Gilad Sharon is accused of abusing his privileged position to help promote the project.

Last month, Gilad Sharon also refused to answer police questions concerning the terms of a loan of $1.5 million his father is said to have received from a South African businessman and long-standing friend, Cyril Kern, according to Israeli media.

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