Top State attorney: Probe of former head Tel Aviv state prosecutor is ‘without precedent’

Israel’s top prosecutor comments on announcement of Ruth David’s arrest on charges of obstruction of justice in a wide-reaching corruption case.

May 7, 2015 18:36
2 minute read.
Shai Nitzan

State Attorney Shai Nitzan (L).. (photo credit: REUTERS)

State Attorney Shai Nitzan told hundreds of lawyers in the state prosecutor’s office on Thursday that the criminal investigation into former head Tel Aviv state prosecutor Ruth David is “without precedent.”

“I am aware that among many of us this has severely shaken us,” he said about the Wednesday announcement that David had been arrested on charges of obstruction of justice in a wide-reaching corruption case. David was arrested Tuesday for assistance she gave her then-client, attorney Ronel Fisher, after his arrest in July 2014.

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David is suspected of contacting other people of interest in the case on behalf of Fisher and helping them get their stories straight before questioning by police. She spent decades as a Tel Aviv district prosecutor before joining Fisher’s law firm in 2012.

Fisher, a former journalist and later a powerful defense attorney, was first arrested last July on suspicion of brokering bribes between police officers and his clients. He was rearrested late last month after a breakthrough in the case against him.

Nitzan, in a public letter to the attorneys in his office, said he obviously could not “specify anything regarding the investigation, but I found it appropriate to turn to you in light of this development.”

He added that: “I am convinced that despite this difficult event, we will all continue to act as we always have, in the spirit of the value of the rule of law, the public interest, with fairness, integrity and professionalism.”

Earlier this week, Fisher’s ex-boss and associate, former Ma’ariv owner Ofer Nimrodi, was arrested by Justice Ministry investigators on suspicion of trying to bribe Ch.-Insp.

Eran Malka, in exchange for receiving information about the police case Nimrodi was being questioned on. Malka is at the center of the Fisher investigation, and is believed to have received bribes for passing on investigative material.

Though the police have faced numerous scandals over the past year, David’s arrest was the first sign of corruption reaching the state prosecutor’s office.

Fisher appeared before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Thursday morning, where his remand was extended by a further four days.

Presiding judge Gioia Skappa-Shapiro said during the hearing that she has reviewed the investigative material the police have gathered against Fisher, and what she saw strengthens the allegations against him and the need to keep him in custody.

Fisher’s attorney alleged in court that Prisons Service staff had not allowed his client to receive clothes sent by his family or to shower, and that he was still wearing the same clothes from his arrest nine days earlier.

Skappa-Shapiro ordered prison officials to immediately hand over his personal belongings. The Prisons Service denied the allegations.

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