Israeli deputy speaker suspended after drug and pimping allegations

  • AFP, Jerusalem
  • Updated: Jun 09, 2015 23:30 IST

Israeli parliamentary speaker Yuli Edelstein suspended Oren Hazan from his duties as deputy speaker on Tuesday. after a television report alleging the lawmaker was involved in pimping and drugs was aired.

"I informed MK Oren Hazan this morning that for the time being I won't be able to let him run the plenum sessions as deputy speaker of the Knesset, in light of the report on him on Channel 2," Edelstein wrote on Facebook.

"I am full of hope that he will clear himself of all suspicions, and I will be happy to apologise to him. But in the current public atmosphere, ethically - even if not criminally - there is no way he can run the plenum."

The report on privately owned Channel 2, broadcast on Monday, alleged that Hazan, who used to run a casino in Bulgaria, had arranged to provide its clients with prostitutes and had used hard drugs during that time.

Hazan, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party elected into parliament on March, denied any misdoings during a series of interviews the day he was suspended.

His lawyer also told Israeli military radio that Hazan had a medical condition that prevented him from being able to use hard drugs.

Following Edelstein's announcement, a furious Hazan phoned the Knesset speaker and threatened to dig up dirt on him and expose it publicly, an aide to Edelstein told AFP.

Hazan had earlier said he would be unable to chair Tuesday's plenum session since he was consulting with his lawyers ahead of filing a lawsuit against Channel 2, a move he announced late Monday night.

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