Mazuz finds 'no reason to assume' Hirchson is being framed
Over the weekend, claims began to circulate that Hirchson was the victim of efforts to blacken his name.
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, DAN IZENBERGPublished: MARCH 26, 2007 23:21Advertisement
Embattled Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson suffered a serious setback on Monday when Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said there is no evidence to substantiate claims that Hirchson has been the victim of a frame-up.
The finance minister is under investigation for allegedly embezzling funds from organizations that he headed. Over the weekend, claims began to circulate that Hirchson was the victim of efforts to blacken his name, and that the allegations against him were yet another attempt at bringing him down.
Earlier this year, Hirchson said he had been threatened by people who opposed his pro-privatization policies.
But on Monday, Mazuz said in a Channel 1 news interview, "There is no reason to assume that Hirchson is being falsely incriminated." Mazuz did, however, say that the possibility could not be ignored.
On Wednesday, Mazuz is expected to hold a meeting to decide if the evidence is sufficient to require Hirchson's suspension from the ministry.
The minister will face a second round of police questioning later this week. Last week, he was questioned under caution for seven hours, but police were forced to limit their questioning, as the finance minister was engaged in last minute efforts to prevent the general strike.
Also on Monday, the Movement for Quality Government petitioned the High Court of Justice to order Hirchson's suspension as long as police are conducting a criminal investigation against him.
Hirchson is suspected of embezzling hundreds of thousands of shekels when he headed the National Labor Federation in Eretz Yisrael.
According to the Movement for Quality Government, the fact that Hirchson has remained in his post despite the serious allegations against him has seriously damaged public confidence in the system of government.
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