Barak may face further scrutiny from Israeli voters following news that he made repeated visits to a Manhattan building owned by Jeffrey’s Epstein’s brother and was mentioned in the investigation.
By World Israel News Staff
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak made repeated visits over the past few years to a Manhattan building connected to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged New York trafficking ring, The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday.
“Residents of 301 East 66th St. always knew Ehud Barak was there by the flashy cars parked outside and burly security guards in the lobby,” the news site reports. The 16-story building is owned by Mark Epstein, Jeffrey’s younger brother.
The Daily Beast asked Barak to comment for the story. He said:
“Despite the fact that there was no wrongdoing on my part, and that there is not even the faintest suspicion of wrongdoing on my part, I’m not going to address these questions because in the current political environment in Israel, the mere fact of my response to such a question is churned up as spin in the political game.”
The Epstein scandal, in which the financier has been accused of trafficking in underage girls, has plagued Barak, who had business dealings with Epstein, receiving some $3 million for work that remains unclear and for which the former prime minister refuses to divulge the details.
However, Barak denies he took part in any of the sexcapades of which Epstein stands accused. “I never attended a party with him,” he told The Daily Beast. “I never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls.”
However, pictures that The Daily Mail published on July 16 showing Barak entering Epstein’s home in Manhattan in January 2016, the same day four beautiful women also visited, undermined the former prime minister’s claim.
The Epstein scandal has likely hurt Barak’s electoral prospects. On June 26, the 77-year-old former prime minister announced he was running at the head of a new party, which he later named the Israel Democratic Party. He looked to be in a strong position to lead a bloc of left-wing parties until the scandal broke.
While Barak has joined a coalition, it is smaller than he likely hoped. And he is further down on the list of candidates.
Labor party leader Amir Peretz, who did not join the alliance, cited the Epstein issue as one of the reasons he wanted to avoid linking up with Barak in a coalition.