Sharon's son loses appeal

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The Independent Online

Ariel Sharon's son should go to jail for corruption next month, on the day the comatose former prime minister turns 80, Israel's Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said judges rejected Omri Sharon's appeal against a sentence for fraudulently raising campaign funds for his father. Israeli media said that meant he would begin his seven-month term on Feb. 27.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty and resigned from parliament in 2006 after the elder Sharon was forced from office by a massive stroke that plunged him into a coma. He appealed his sentence, saying the loss of his parliamentary seat was punishment enough.

The scandal over the funding of the former general's campaign for leadership of the right-wing Likud party in 1999 cast a shadow over the latter part of Sharon's five-year premiership, as did a high-profile investigation, later dropped, into his other son's dealings with a property developer.

Omri Sharon and his younger brother Gilad were granted an audience with George W. Bush during the U.S. president's visit to Jerusalem earlier this month, a meeting aides described as a mark of respect to their ailing father, long a Bush ally.