Hong Kong officials did not apologize to Frenkel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jacob Frenkel, who withdrew his candidacy to head the Bank of Israel over accusations that he shoplifted at a duty-free shop in Hong Kong, was arrested and charged with shoplifting, according to Hong Kong government officials.

Frenkel called the shoplifting incident a “misunderstanding” and said the Hong Kong authorities apologized for the embarrassing incident, in which Frenkel says he left the store with a garment bag that he thought a colleague had taken care of paying for.

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Hong Kong’s Department of Justice said in a written response to a query from the Israeli daily Haaretz that Frenkel in November 2006 was arrested and charged with theft of a garment bag from a duty free shop at Hong Kong International Airport and that the charges were later dropped. The letter says that there was “no apology to Dr. Frenkel and the Department of Justice had not thanked him for not seeking any compensation.

Frenkel did not disclose the incident to the Turkel Committee on Senior Appointments, which vetted his nomination.

Frenkel withdrew his candidacy on July 29, five weeks after he was nominated. He called the publicity surrounding the shoplifting incident “an attempt to burn me at the stake.”

Frenkel previously served two terms as governor of the Bank of Israel from 1991 to 2000.

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