Supreme Court Justice Danziger to be questioned by police

Danziger will be grilled over links to Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani - currently under investigation for alleged corruption and bribery.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 1, 2011 15:36
2 minute read.
Yoram Danziger

Danziger311. (photo credit: Courts Administration)

 
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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.

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This is the first time in Israeli history that a current Supreme Court justice will be questioned under caution in connection with a criminal investigation.

Questioning Danziger under caution is a warning that law enforcement are treating him as a potential suspect in the Lahiani Affair.

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.

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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.

“The 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 statement.

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.

Hours before 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.”

A 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.

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