Danziger’s probe to begin in coming days

Ex-justice minister Friedman is unsure investigation is justified.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
August 3, 2011 03:56
2 minute read.
Yoram Danziger

Danziger311. (photo credit: Courts Administration)

 
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Police could start questioning Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger over his links with the Bat Yam mayor in the very near future, possibly as soon as Tuesday, Army Radio reported Tuesday morning.

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein made an announcement Monday that he has allowed Danziger to be questioned under caution in connection with a corruption probe against Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani.

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Supreme Court Justice Danziger to be questioned by police

Danziger will be the first sitting Supreme Court justice in Israeli history to be questioned under caution as part of a criminal investigation.

Former justice minister Daniel Friedman criticized Tuesday the legitimacy of the investigation into Danziger.

“I am not sure that the investigation is justified. It is a strong blow to the State of Israel,” Army Radio reported Friedman as saying.

Police are investigating Lahiani, who is suspected of various instances of corruption during his time as mayor. Lahiani was arrested in 2009, and the allegations listed in the charge sheet include fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and theft by a public official by using public money to pay personal speeding fines.

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Police have already asked Danziger twice for testimony in connection with the “Lahiani Affair.” Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Danziger’s private law firm – Danziger, Kladsbald & Co – had been hired by the Bat Yam municipality.

In a statement released yesterday, the Justice Ministry explained that police wanted to clarify “the circumstances of the appointment of [Danziger’s] law office by the Bat Yam municipality, and legal services provided by [Danziger] to the mayor of Bat Yam, Shlomo Lahiani, as well as the integrity of that relationship.”

Lahiani told Channel 2 that police suspicions against Danziger were “utter nonsense.”

“You can make headlines in the newspapers but you can’t make something out of nothing,” said Lahiani. “[Danziger] is the most honest man I know, and I know a lot of people. He’s a professional and he knows the law. He knows what’s permitted and what’s not. He’s not on the make.”

Danziger’s lawyer, Reuven Bahar, who according to reports met recently with the attorney-general and representatives of the State Prosecutor’s Office, also said the allegations against Danziger were baseless.

“Knowing as we do the circumstances of the matter, we are convinced that Justice Danziger is not tainted with any criminal or other activity,” said Bahar. “We hope that the investigation will be conducted and completed quickly, and that in a short time those carrying out the investigation will also come to the same conclusion.”

Danziger has announced he intended to take leave from the Supreme Court pending the completion of the investigation.

A source acquainted with Danziger told The Jerusalem Post that it is likely that Danziger’s decision to take leave of absence from the Supreme Court was to avoid serving as a judge while he was being investigated.

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