1. The Party Primary

Officials connected to Omri Sharon establish the straw company Annex Research, which transferred illegally donated funds to finance Ariel Sharon’s Likud party primary in 1999.

2. The Discovery

Following the exposure of the event on March 2, 2001 in Yedioth Ahronoth, the state comptroller begins an investigation and orders Sharon to return NIS 4.7 million that he received in illegal contributions to the state treasury.

3. The Money

Gilad Sharon takes a loan from Bank Leumi in order to return the money. Cyril Kern transfers NIS 4.7 million to the bank account in Israel as collateral for the loan. Kern does not stop there, and in the end transfers approximately USD 3 million, worth approximately NIS 13.5 million.

4. The Billionaire

Ha’aretz reports that the police sought to hold a judicial inquiry of Cyril Kern in South Africa in order to clarify where he got the money from. The investigators suspected that Kern served as a straw man for the Austrian billionaire Martin Schlaff.

5. The Raid

Martin Schlaff’s brother, James, arrives in Israel to visit his parents.

On December 22, 2005 police raid the family home in Jerusalem, confiscating papers and two personal computers belonging to James Schlaff, which allegedly contain information connecting Sharon and Schlaff.

This piece ran in Yediot on January 4th, 2006