(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
State prosecutor Eran Shendar decided Thursday to launch a state investigation against Ya'acov Borovsky, State Comptroller's special advisor in charge of corruption.
The investigation will be handled in cooperation between the police, and the Police Investigation Department.
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Wednesday asked police to look into allegations by the Ometz watchdog organization that the man who accused Borovsky of trying to bribe Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is linked to Sharon's successor, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The police will look into the new allegation in the context of its investigation into charges leveled on Sunday by Solomon Karubi, a former member of the Likud Central Committee, that Ya'acov Borovsky tried to bribe Sharon into appointing him chief of police.
The Prime Minister's Office denied the Ometz allegation. "There is no connection between the Prime Minister and Karubi," an Olmert spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post. "The claim is a lie, like all of Ometz's claims. Karubi was never an aide to Olmert."
Karubi made the charges during a television interview on Channel 1. Borovsky said the allegations were "hallucinatory," that he did not know Karubi and had never sat in a room with him. According to Karubi's version, Borovsky used him as a go-between with Sharon's son, MK Omri Sharon, with whom he had close ties. In return for the appointment, Borovsky allegedly promised to change the members of the police team investigating corruption allegations against Ariel Sharon.
According to Ometz chairman Aryeh Avineri, Karubi served as the political aide of Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Eli Aflalo when Olmert was the Minister of Industry and Commerce. Avineri charged that in order for Karubi to receive a higher salary, he was listed as being an aide to Olmert himself.
Avineri told The Jerusalem Post that before learning of the alleged connection between Olmert and Karubi, he had written to Mazuz asking him to order police to look into the possibility that Olmert was linked to the charges against Borovsky. Borovsky has been head of a team that has looked into several questionable affairs regarding Olmert's conduct. The latest is Olmert's role in the auction of the government's controlling interest in Bank Leumi. He is suspected of committing fraud and breach of faith by intervening in the tender on behalf of personal friends and relatives.
Another matter being probed concerns the purchase of a house on Cremieux Street for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the market price in return for using Olmert's political influence to obtain increased building rights for the owner of the building.
Avineri suspected that Olmert might be behind the charges against Borovsky as a way of discrediting him and the investigation against the prime minister. He said that late last night, someone called him and told him of the political links between Olmert and Karubi.
"How is it that all of a sudden, two-and-a-half years after the event, someone suddenly comes forward and makes these charges against Borovsky," said Avineri. "There's something fishy about the timing."