Katsav: Relations were professional

Mazuz urged to probe president's complaint about being extorted.

By DAN IZENBERG,
July 8, 2006 21:26
2 minute read.
katsav sits seriously 298.88

katsav sits stern 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

President Moshe Katsav said on Monday that the relations with the former president's residence (Beit Hanassi) employee, who allegedly claimed that they were of a sexual nature, were strictly on working basis and there were "no other relations" between them. Asked by reporters whether he had revealed additional information to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz about the case, Katsav said, "what I reveal, when I reveal it and how I reveal it is between me and the attorney general and is not to be discussed with journalists." Comment: A soap opera in our own backyard When asked how he felt in view of all that had transpired over the past few days Katsav said he was feeling a little despondent but that he was "sure that this would pass." On Sunday, the Movement for Quality Government wrote to Mazuz, demanding that he order an investigation into all aspects of the "Katsav affair," including his claims that the president was being extorted and the allegations that he had sexually harassed a female employee.

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"Since this affair involves the president of the State of Israel, there is practical importance to investigating as speedily as possible all aspects of the case, even if only to remove the cloud now hanging over the president's residence," the MQG wrote. On Saturday night, Channel 2 commentator Amnon Abramovitch reported that Katsav had told Mazuz he was being blackmailed by the former employee. Abramovitch added that Katsav told Mazuz the charge was baseless. Following the broadcast, the President's Office issued a statement saying Katsav had not filed a complaint about being extorted. His spokesman, Hagit Cohen, added that Katsav met routinely with officials in the political, security and judicial spheres, including Mazuz. According to media reports, the lawyer representing the former employee has not complained to the police about alleged sexual harassment on the part of Katsav. The police also said they had not received complaints from either side in the affair. Despite the fact that Katzav himself was not filing a complaint about being extorted, the attorney general can still decide to launch a criminal investigation. Mazuz appeared to contradict Katsav on Sunday, saying that the president had indeed complained to him last week about the former employee at the president's residence (Beit Hanassi), although he gave no details of the nature of the complaint. Addressing reporters at the Knesset, Mazuz said, "Last Wednesday, I met with the president of the state, Moshe Katsav, at his request. At the meeting, he told me about a series of events involving a former employee at Beit Hanassi. The president said all the facts were documented, but stressed that he was not making a criminal complaint." "At the end of the meeting, he handed me a letter which detailed the main points," Mazuz continued. "After reading the document and holding preliminary consultations, I wrote to the president on Thursday, asking him to hand over all the documents in his possession regarding the affair. After studying these documents, we will decide how to deal with the matter."


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