(photo credit: Courts Administration)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein announced Monday that he will allow police to
question Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger as part of the ongoing corruption
investigation into Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani.
Lahiani and several
other Bat Yam city officials are being investigated on suspicions of corruption
and economic crimes, including fraud, embezzlement, breach of trust and money
laundering, in what has been dubbed the “Lahiani Affair.” The Bat Yam mayor was
arrested in connection with these alleged corruption crimes in 2009.
is the first time in Israeli history that a current Supreme Court justice will
be questioned under caution in connection with a criminal
Questioning Danziger under caution is a warning that law
enforcement are treating him as a potential suspect in the Lahiani
According to the Basic Law: The Judiciary, the Supreme Court may
order the suspension of a judge who has been made the subject of a criminal
investigation or charged with an offense.
In January, Weinstein allowed
police to obtain testimony from Danziger regarding the period between 2005 and
2007, before his appointment as a Supreme Court justice, when his Ramat Ganbased
commercial law firm, Danziger, Klagsbald & Co., represented Lahiani and the
Bat Yam Municipality.
According to reports, Danziger’s firm netted NIS
823,000 as a result of its work with the municipality.
Danziger will now
be interrogated further about the same period.
The Justice Ministry said
on Monday that the attorneygeneral had made the decision to question Danziger
under caution at this stage in the investigation, after consulting the State
Attorney’s Office, the head of the police’s Investigation and Intelligence
Branch and other police and state prosecution officials.
attorney-general has decided clarifications are required regarding the
circumstances of the appointment of [Danziger’s] law office by the Bat Yam
Municipality, and in connection with legal services provided by [Danziger] to
the mayor of Bat Yam, Shlomo Lahiani, as a private attorney before his
appointment as a justice, and that therefore Justice Danziger should be
questioned under caution,” the Justice Ministry said in a
Weinstein said that after the investigation has ended and the
allegations have been clarified, law enforcement authorities would be able to
reach a decision on the Lahiani Affair, the ministry added.
the attorney-general’s announcement that Danziger would be questioned under
caution, Danziger had informed Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch that he
intended to take immediate leave.
Despite Danziger’s announcement, his
lawyer, Robi Becker, told Channel 2 news, “Knowing the circumstances of the
matter, we are convinced that there is nothing to blemish Justice Danziger and
we hope that the investigation will be completed speedily and soon.”
source acquainted with Danziger told The Jerusalem Post that it is likely the
justice decided to go on leave so as to avoid the awkward position of sitting as
a justice in hearings while being questioned under caution in connection with
the Lahiani Affair.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.