Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Slew Of Israeli Officials Now Under Investigation

Slew Of Israeli Officials Now Under Investigation
Jewish Week
August 23, 2006

Israeli President Moshe Katzav was questioned “under caution” by police Wednesday, suggesting that he is a suspect in a sex scandal that began with him in the role of victim and grew into allegations that he accepted payoffs in return for the granting of pardons.

Israeli media reported that he is to be quizzed at least two more times in coming days following a police raid Monday night of his private office and residence. The Israeli press said authorities were looking into criminal offenses of prohibited sexual relations, exploitation of status and possibly even rape involving two women employees who said Katzav, 61, slept with them.

Although he may not be indicted while in office, an indictment could wait until he left office voluntarily or was removed by the Knesset.

Meanwhile, Haim Ramon was indicted Wednesday on charges of sexually harassing an 18-year-old woman in his chambers. He resigned Sunday as justice minister in anticipation of the charges.

Meir Sheetrit, the minister of Housing and Construction, was appointed to replace him until the end of Ramon’s trial. Should Ramon be acquitted, he would resume his post.

Also under indictment is Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, who is charged with appointing dozens of political cronies to government jobs when he was a cabinet minister.

That’s in addition to investigations for suspected financial impropriety involving Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson and Kadima Party whip Avigdor Yitzhaki.


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