JERUSALEM – The oldest son of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (search) was indicted Sunday on corruption charges in connection with fund-raising activities for one of his father's election campaigns, the Justice Ministry announced.
Omri Sharon (search) is suspected of setting up fictitious companies to conceal illegal contributions during the 1999 campaign, when his father won the chairmanship of the Likud Party and became its candidate for prime minister.
"The first indicted man is the son of Ariel Sharon. ... In the relevant period he was employed by Ariel Sharon to administer and run his campaign for the Likud party primaries," the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Omri Sharon received more than $1.3 million in 1999 and 2000 from groups in Israel (search) and overseas for his father's campaign.
"These sums are significantly higher than allowed by the party finance laws," it said.
Omri Sharon was charged with violating campaign finance laws, forging documents and perjury. He could face up to five years in prison.
Ariel Sharon's two terms as prime minister been marred by scandals over shady campaign financing and real estate deals, but the prime minister himself has escaped indictment.
Prosecutors decided not to charge Ariel Sharon with involvement in the same scandal.
Omri Sharon is a member of the Israeli parliament. He has already agreed to waive his parliamentary immunity to face the corruption charges.
Both Omri Sharon and his lawyers declined to comment on the indictment.
Attorney General Meni Mazuz said last month that he planned to indict Omri Sharon after negotiations to reach a plea bargain broke down.
The Justice Ministry said charges were also filed Sunday against Gabriel Manor, a friend of Omri Sharon, and a fictitious company founded by the two men to channel the illegal contributions.