(photo credit: Ch 99 [file])
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz is expected to hold a hearing over the next few weeks on suspicions surrounding former finance minister Avraham Hirchson, in order to establish whether he will be indicted, Army Radio reported on Monday morning.
On Sunday, after years of investigation into the finances of the National Workers' Union, police announced that they had gathered enough evidence to recommend an indictment against the former union leader.
Police have recommended that Hirchson face charges that include breach of trust, fraud under severe circumstances, theft and money laundering.
According to former finance minister Avraham Shochat, only society would suffer if the state were to convict Hirchson. In an interview with Army Radio on Sunday evening, Shochat expressed his concern over the matter saying, "if, God forbid, [Hirchson] is convicted, it will be devastating not only for Hirchson personally, but also for Israeli society."
Shochat had spoken several times with Hirchson after police announced that they had gathered enough evidence against him on Sunday afternoon. "I will not divulge the contents of my conversations with him. He is a pleasant man, who emanates amiability. I really hope that at the end of the day he will be proven innocent," said the former minister.
A Finance Ministry official, said the report, had found it alarming that a man suspected of such severe crimes managed the national treasury until several months ago. Another official told Army Radio that Hirchson was being targeted unjustly. "We are talking about an honest man, whose corrupt friends turned their backs on him, and those who look to advance their own interests kindled the fire against him."
In addition to what investigators from the National Financial Crimes Unit described as a "solid base of evidence" against Hirchson, the investigation team, headed by Lt.-Cmdr. Yoav Segelovich, also said they had found weighty evidence against other high-ranking officials from both the NWU and its Nili subdivision.
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.