Israel Names Attorney Michal Halperin to Head Anti-Trust Agency


JERUSALEM, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday appointed attorney Michal Halperin to run Israel's Anti-Trust Authority after a dispute over the country's natural gas reserves led to the resignation of her predecessor.

Halperin has been a partner in Israeli law firm Meitar since 2007 and headed its anti-trust and competition group. From 2002 to 2006, she was the authority's deputy head and legal adviser.

The former anti-trust commissioner, David Gilo, resigned last May in protest over a deal that he said would speed up the development of the large offshore Leviathan natural gas field at the expense of bringing in new competition.

Netanyahu, as acting economy minister, pushed the deal through late last year despite anti-trust concerns. Whether Leviathan gets developed will be decided by the Supreme Court.

Netanyahu said Halperin's private and public sector expertise would help the authority "reach the right balance between the needs of the economy and the business sector for the benefit of the continued development of Israel's economy."

Halperin said she saw the appointment as an opportunity to contribute to a free economy and to increase competition for Israeli citizens.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Mark Potter)


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