“Peres & Associates – Global Consulting”, a company now owned by Nehemia (Chemi) Peres, son of former Israeli president, Shimon Peres, was founded at the beginning of July 2014, the last month of his presidency.
The company was established by Meitar, Israel’s largest law firm, and its stocks were listed under one of the firm’s partners. On July 23rd, on the last day of Peres’s presidency, his son became the sole director in the company. A week later all the company stocks were transferred to him.
According to a source familiar with the company’s work, “Peres & Associates – Global Consulting,” has both Israeli and international clients. The employees of the company include former aides of Peres from his presidency term, including Ran Simha (economical advisor), Nadav Tamir (advisor for international affairs) and Ayelet Frish (spokesperson and media advisor.) The company, according to the source, uses the connections built by Peres and his former advisors built along the years in order to assist its clients in “opening doors” to markets they have a hard time accessing.
Two weeks ago, Israeli newspaper ‘The Marker’ published that a $30,000-per-month promotion agreement was signed between the company and Hapoalim Bank, Israel’s largest bank. Following widespread criticism, Peres cancelled the deal.
A few days after that information was revealed, Israeli media published that Peres receives hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches he delivers around the world. Peres said that profits from the company’s activity goes to charity.
Frish explains that the profits goes to the Peres Center for Peace, an Israeli based non-profit, established in 1996. Firsh refused to say who are the company’s clients and how much money was transferred until now to the center.
In the past, The Peres Center for Peace suffered from significant financial difficulties, partly due to the costly construction of its headquarter in Jaffa, Israel. In a 2009 investigation published in Haaretz, I revealed that the plan for the building was over-ambitious and the expenses far exceeded original estimates, eventually leading to layoffs of staff from the center.
During the last few years, the financial situation at the center seems to be improving. According to the center’s 2013 financial report, donations rose sharply between 2012 and 2013: from 2.6 million NIS ($650,000) to more than 9 million ($2.500,000). The report does not state the names of the donors and the center did not reply to questions about the identity of the donors.
Meanwhile in the U.S., the “American Friends of the Peres Institute for Peace” non-profit is also raising donations for the Israeli-based center. Some of the donors are familiar names, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, who donated $25,000 via the “Clinton Family Foundation” in 2012. Another donor is the “Ted Arison Family Foundation” non-profit, run by Israel’s richest woman Shari Arison, whom among other investments controls Hapoalim Bank. The Arison Foundation donated a total of $289,000 between 2009 and 2012. According to the foundation reports, the money was granted for a soccer-related project in an Israeli school.
It should be noted that the donations to the “American Friends of the Peres Institute for Peace” are shrinking. In 2012, the non-profit raised $380,000, in comparison to $2.2 million four years earlier.