A-G won't investigate Lindenstrauss

Follows PM's lawyers' demand that comptroller be probed for abuse of power.

cremieux olmert 298 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
cremieux olmert 298 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
There are no grounds for a criminal investigation against State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, Attorney General Menahem Mazuz told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's lawyers on Tuesday morning. Earlier Tuesday, head of the State Control Committee, Zevulun Orlev, lambasted Olmert after the prime minister registered a complaint against Lindenstrauss and demanded a criminal investigation be opened against him for abusing his power. Orlev said that the attorney general "should put Olmert in his place." "The prime minister is not permitted to inspect the state comptroller, but vice versa," he said. Orlev added that he planned to convene the committee and invite Olmert and Lindenstrauss to open a new chapter in their relations. Meanwhile, the State Comptroller's Office reacted harshly to the prime minister's complaint. "It is inconceivable that a suspect in four different cases that the state comptroller has probed is seeking to investigate his investigator. It is an attempt to undermine the rule of law," read a statement from the State Comptroller's Office. A senior comptroller official said that the prime minister's attempt demonstrated a "ridiculous and stupid image of someone clutching at straws in an attempt to bully the State Comptroller's Office". The Justice Ministry denied that Muzuz had asked it to investigate Lindenstrauss. "No document has been received and there has been no order from the state attorney to open an investigation," Israel Radio quoted Justice Ministry officials as saying. On Monday, Channel 2 reported that Olmert's lawyers wrote to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, saying, "You are requested to view our letter as a complaint against the state comptroller and order a criminal investigation of him, because he is the one breaking the law by systematically leaking excerpts from drafts of the reports drawn up in his office, and [showing a] constant disregard for the prime minister." The complaint stemmed from Lindenstrauss's investigation into allegations that Olmert had received a $330,000 discount on the purchase of an apartment on Cremieux Street in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood in return for securing permits giving the building's contractors the right to build a larger structure. Lindenstrauss handed the material from his investigation over to Mazuz three weeks ago and recommended that the police continue the probe. He said that for a number of reasons he was unable to carry on with the investigation himself. The most glaring reason, he wrote, was that Olmert never responded to the draft of the report that was sent to him on January 31, 2007. According to standard procedure in state comptroller investigations, Olmert was supposed to read the draft report and respond to the allegations. The state comptroller was then supposed to take these explanations into consideration when preparing the final draft. Lindenstrauss gave Olmert one month to submit his reactions to the draft report. Three months later, Olmert had still not sent it.