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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 23:50 GMT
Sharon son told to submit files
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Sharon answered police questions for more than six hours in October
Israel's highest court has told Ariel Sharon's younger son, Gilad, to release files police say could show corruption.

Israeli police are investigating allegations that Mr Sharon accepted illegal contributions in his 1999 campaign to lead the Likud party.

Mr Sharon denies wrongdoing and has said he will co-operate with police.

But sons Gilad and Omri, who managed his victorious party leadership campaign, have refused to answer police questions about the affair.

The two men are known to have accepted about $1.5m from a friend of the prime minister's, South African businessman Cyril Kern.

But it is not clear what the money was used for.

The national fraud squad suspects it was to repay illegal campaign contributions.

It is against the law to accept funds from abroad in Israeli political campaigns.

In Wednesday's ruling, a special five-judge panel said that Gilad Sharon must turn over documents that could shed light on the case, a spokeswoman for the state prosecutor said.

The court rejected Gilad Sharon's insistence that he did not have to turn over the files as part of his right to silence, the spokeswoman Edna Barzilai told the Associated Press.

Tel Aviv magistrate's court will view the documents and decide if any can be used in court.

Investigations

The Sharon family is also the subject of a second corruption investigation, which focuses on the nature of the business relationship between Gilad and an Israeli businessman, David Appel.

Investigators have been trying to find out whether any funds were used improperly and whether attempts were made to try to buy Ariel Sharon's influence.

Mr Sharon remains very popular in Israel for his tough stance on security, but a recent poll suggests the public may not back him if he is found guilty of misconduct.

Investigations like this one are not new in Israeli politics.

Both Mr Sharon's immediate predecessors, Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu, faced corruption inquiries.

In 1977, Yitzhak Rabin resigned as prime minister because his wife held an illegal bank account in the United States.


SEE ALSO:
Fraud police quiz Ariel Sharon
30 Oct 03  |  Middle East
S Africa investigates Sharon loan claim
13 Jan 03  |  Middle East
Timeline: Sharon's controversial loan
13 Jan 03  |  Middle East



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