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‘Sexual Bribery’ Scandal Threatens Israeli Justice Minister

‘Sexual Bribery’ Scandal Threatens Israeli Justice Minister

Thursday, 17 January, 2019 - 10:30
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (R) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, from the Jewish Home party, enter the room before delivering their statements in Tel Aviv. December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Corinna Kern
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
The results of a month-long investigation into corruption in Israel’s judicial appointment system were partially revealed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The case involves a number of magistrates, employees, and lawyers in the appointment of judges in exchange for sexual favors.

One of the suspects is very close to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who belongs to Israel’s far right.

The official Hebrew radio revealed a month ago a corruption case linked to a judicial body, saying the Attorney General himself arrived in court, requesting an extended detention of suspects and imposing a gag order, an indication of the involvement of prominent figures.

Israeli police have kept the investigation process away from the media spotlight, but the information on the appointment of a female judge in a magistrate court and an attempt to promote a judge by appointing him in one of the central courts, quickly began to make the rounds.

Police arrested in the course of the investigation several suspects, one of whom is a lawyer. The others are a judge, a senior employee and a prominent Bar Association member.

Two women, a magistrate and a lawyer were summoned along with a group of witnesses, and "documents and computerized materials" were seized during raids.

Police allowed the public disclosure of some information on the case. They said investigations have been carried out with three suspects, a female judge in the magistrate court, and two lawyers, one of whom is the main suspect accused of having sexual relations with a female judge in exchange for helping her get appointed.

Police are also investigating a lawyer, who is close to the main suspect and helped promote a judge.

All members of the Judicial Appointments Committee for investigation are expected to be summoned. This includes Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Shaked, who is considered a friend of the suspect.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has recused himself given his friendship with the main suspect.

Israel Bar Association Head Effi Naveh is also reportedly expected to take a leave of absence over the scandal.

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