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Bribery Case Against Sharon is Dropped

17 June 2004

JERUSALEM -- As reported by the New York Times: ``Israel's attorney general dropped a bribery investigation against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday, removing one of the clouds hanging over the Israeli leader.

"The decision helps solidify Sharon's position, at least in the short term, and could serve as a catalyst for negotiations to reshape his coalition government, which has frayed.

"...If Sharon had been indicted in the so-called Greek Island affair, which dates to the late 1990s when Sharon was the foreign minister, he would have faced tremendous pressure to resign.

"...In January, the inquiry appeared to pose a serious threat when prosecutors indicted a wealthy real estate developer, David Appel, on charges of attempting to bribe Sharon with payments that totaled almost $700,000, most of it sent to an account controlled by Gilad Sharon.

"According to the indictment, Appel wanted to build a resort and casino on a Greek island in the late 1990s, and sought help from the elder Sharon.

"The project was ultimately abandoned..."

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