Efi Naveh appears in court, January 16th, 2019.
(photo credit: REUVEN CASTRO)
Efi Nave, chairman of the Israel Bar Association, announced his resignation on Thursday.
"I hereby announce my resignation from the position of head of the Bar Association," said Nave in a statement. "I decided to do so because the office is very important and precious to me. I would like to thank all my friends for the joint journey we have taken and wish success to those who will replace me," Nave claimed.
New elections are due to be held within between 30 to 45 days. Lawyer Uri Keinan will serve as acting president in the interim.
Nave was questioned for the second time on Thursday at the offices of the Fraud Investigation Unit at Lahav 433 on suspicion of promoting judicial candidates in exchange for sexual favors.Nave is suspected of having a sexual relationship with a female lawyer appointed as judge
, as well as another female lawyer whose husband is a judge and was seeking his promotion.
All the suspects were arrested and remanded by the court to house arrest.
Other parties associated with the affair will also testify today as part of the investigation. The parties are members of the Judicial Appointments Committee, members of the Israel Bar Association and others.
The police began the public phase of what had been a secret investigation after they realized that some of the suspects were trying to disrupt the investigation. Yesterday, investigators collected documents and computers from the Israel Bar Association, and allegedly found evidence relevant to the investigation.
The investigators are looking for evidence implicating other people involved in the affair, who are also suspected of having relationships with Nave for political gain.
Nave denied involvement in sexual bribery during his interrogation, but did not deny or confirm having sexual relationships with the two women. His lawyer Boaz Ben-Tzur stated in court that his client is not a member of the Judicial Appointments Committee and therefore can not influence the selection or promotion of judges. Additionally, Ben-Tzur said that the two additional suspects in the case were released at the end of their interrogation under restrictive conditions to house arrest were not brought to court.
According to Ben-Tzur in an interview on Army Radio on Thursday morning, Nave did not have the ability to influence the appointment of the judge in question because she was appointed before his client was appointed to the Judicial Appointments Committee.
"I am not addressing the question of whether there was an intimate connection between my client and judges and lawyers or not," Ben-Tzur said.
"We're aware of the material presented to the police.The Judicial Appointments Committee includes judges selected from all sectors. One person can not influence or arrange any appointment. That particular judge was chosen a year-and-a-quarter or a year-and-a-half before Nave was appointed to the committee, so the perception that he had the ability to influence the appointment is wrong. "
Ben-Tzur added that the affair "will be removed from the agenda quickly."This article was translated from Maariv by Sara Rubenstein.
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