Published On: Mon, May 30th, 2016

Dispute behind the scenes between police and judicial system regarding evidence against PM’s wife

Announcement of closing the probe into PM Netanyahu's residences and suspicions against his wife did not include names of suspects or recommendations; Police source: 'The police simply went to the media'

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Attorney General Avihay Mandelblitt (Photo Ofer Meir)

 

The investigation into the Prime Minister’s residences aroused fierce debate on Sunday between two enforcement bodies in Israel: the Israel Police and the ministry of interior. The central question being asked is who is responsible for wording the unusual announcement about which was published on Sunday informing that the investigation had been conclude.

In the official announcement which was released by the police it was written that, “The investigation began in February 2016 with the approval of the attorney general and the state attorney. It focused on a few subjects from which suspicion of criminal acts arose which included suspected fraud and breach of confidence.”

“At the conclusion of the investigation, ” a spokesman said, “all the alleged evidence, findings and insights that were gathered were transferred to the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office…for examination and a decision.”

In an unprecedented step however, the police opted not to include in the announcement the names of the suspects which included Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu. Moreover, it decided not to report on the recommendations outlined by the investigators involved in the case. The decision was taken despite the fact that similar such announcements to the media by the police have mentions suspects’ names and the fundamental recommendations of the investigators.

 

Sara Netanyahu

Sara Netanyahu

In the case of a well-known actor, Moshe Ivgy, for example, the police published a report last week while stating his name and included the recomemendations which should be inserted in an indictment based on evidence of sexual offenses allegedly committed against three women.

The prime minister’s inner circle rushed to use the wording of the report stating in response: “There was nothing in the report which suggested that Mrs. Netanyahu be arraigned.”

As a result of the criticism on the wording of the report regarding the PM’s residences, the police sought to reduce the damage by holding personal discussions with journalists about the issue of recommendations formulated in the case. However, not all were satisfied.

“It is simply shameful and disgraceful conduct here, ” said a senior official in the police. “The policy of the police commissioner is supposed to be identical to all those investigated and without special treatment.”

The police responded by saying that already by the end of last week the investigators had completed their investigations and were ready to close the case and that senior investigators met with prosecutors and legal advisors in order to update them on the findings.

According to police sources involved in the case, legal advisors of Attorney General Avihay Mandelblitt were responsible for requesting from the police to postpone the announcement of the end of the investigation. This special request went all the way to Police Commissioner Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh’s office who decided not to grant the request.

Senior officials in the Justice Ministry claimed on Sunday night in response that “After the police informed of its intention to publicize the announcement, the attorney general informed them that the announcement must include the full recommendations. An argument ensued and the attorney general said that the incomplete announcement, as it was phrased, was unacceptable in his opinion and it was not appropriate that it be released in such a manner. At the end of the day, the police made a unilateral decision to stop the coordination and to go to the media with the announcement.”

By Ynet News

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