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Former Israeli FM convicted of $600,000 fraud

world Updated: Jun 08, 2009 21:57 IST

A former Israeli finance minister and a close aide of ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert was on Monday convicted of embezzling $600,000 of public funds from a workers union.

Avraham Hirschon, finance minister from May 2006 to April 2007, was found guilty of embezzling the money while heading a workers union between 1998 and 2005.

He was a close aide of Olmert, who had himself resigned from office following a series of corruption charges against him.

The suspicions forced Hirschson to resign from the post of finance minister in July 2007 before he was indicted.

Presiding judge Bracha Tom said that under Hirschson's leadership, the workers' union became "a casino where senior executives took money that didn't belong to them."

Besides, Olmert and his childhood friend Hirschon, the Israeli leadership has been plagued with other scandals involving sexual harassment of women.

Former Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, was forced to resign in June 2007, a few weeks before the end of his seven year term, under a cloud of rape, sexual harassment and other charges.

Yet another confidante of Olmert, former Vice Premier Haim Ramon was convicted in March 2007 of forcibly kissing a female soldier.