Businessman David Appel, a close friend of convicted rapist and former president Moshe Katsav, denies he asked President Reuven Rivlin over the weekend to pardon Katsav, as was reported by Channel 10 on Saturday night.Katsav entered Ramle’s Ma’asiyahu Prison in December 2011, after being sentenced to seven years for rape and other sexual assault offenses. In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Israel Prisons Service parole board rejected Katsav’s appeal for early parole.Since then, sources close to the 70-year-old prisoner have said he feels betrayed and that the parole board wanted him dead. The Prisons Service decided to increase security surrounding Katsav for fear he might try to harm himself.The report quoted Katsav attorney David Mena confirming that Appel had asked Rivlin to pardon the former president. Appel, who was a top Likud activist, is a mutual friend of Rivlin and Katsav and is himself a convicted felon.But Both Appel and Mena denied the report in conversations with The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.“The report is incorrect, and someone is trying to smear me,” Appel said. “Everything must be done to help [Katsav], but I have not spoken to the president.”The president’s office also said Rivlin had not spoken about the matter with Appel and that all pardon requests must go through normal legal procedures. Appel was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court in July 2010 after being convicted of bribing senior local officials to promote his development projects.He was released in 2014 after his sentence was shortened by a third.Katsav will be eligible to request parole for a third time in February.