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Israel: Netanyahu pegs Halperin as possible new antitrust chief

 |  January 27, 2016

In has capacity as acting Economy Minister, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday picked lawyer Michal Halperin as the next Antitrust Commissioner.

Halperin will replace David Gilo, who resigned in August in protest of a deal regulating Israel’s natural gas industry.

Netanyahu jumped through months of hurdles to sidestep the Antitrust Authority and push through the deal, which Gilo said did not create enough competition. Last month, Netanyahu signed “Article 52” in his capacity as acting Economy Ministry, which allowed the government to override antitrust objections in the name of security purposes. Netanyahu became acting economy minister after Arye Deri, now Interior Minister, resigned from the post in order to avoid invoking Article 52 for the first time in Israel’s history. That move followed failed attempts to move the authority for Article 52 to the cabinet.

Halperin, who leads the Antitrust and Competition Group at the Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal law firm and served as deputy to the head of the antirtust Authority from 2002-2006, was on the shortlist with Uri Schwartz, who has been the acting head of the Authority since Gilo’s departure.

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