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Scandal rocks Israeli judicial system as senior member arrested for fraud

An unnamed senior Israeli lawyer was arrested on suspicion of demanding sexual favors in exchange for judicial appointments. Two more suspects, including a female judge from the center of the country, were also arrested in connection with the case.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked , President Reuven Rivlin , Supreme Court President Esther Hayut poses for a picture with newly sweard in judges at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, on Jan. 8, 2019. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked , President Reuven Rivlin , Supreme Court President Esther Hayut poses for a picture with newly sweard in judges at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, on Jan. 8, 2019. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

An unnamed senior Israeli lawyer was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of demanding sexual favors in exchange for judicial appointments. Two more suspects, including a female judge from the center of the country, were also arrested in connection with the case.

The leading attorney is accused of appointing a female magistrate’s court judge in exchange for sex acts and having relations with the wife of another judge in exchange for his ascension to a district court position, though the promotion was not actualized.

The investigation is being led by the Central District prosecutor’s office in coordination with the State Attorney, and will subpoena Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, as well as Supreme Court President Esther Hayut.

A search warrant and subsequent search of the main suspect’s house have already been carried out.

The Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit is participating in the investigation, and testimony will be required of Judicial Selection Committee members Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Israel Bar Association chairman Effi Naveh, Israel Bar Association member Ilana Seker, Yisrael Beteinu MK Robert Ilatov and Likud MK Nurit Koren.

The case will not be overseen by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who is reported to be a close friend of the primary suspect, but rather by State Attorney Shai Nitzan. It is being conducted under strict court order, with Israel’s Anti-Fraud Unit obtaining a one month extension on the gag order on Monday.

In the meantime, three Israeli Bar Association members announced their resignation on Tuesday, saying that they would no longer serve under Naveh’s leadership after he was indicted last month for bribery, and gaining illegal exit and entry to Israel for an alleged female acquaintance.

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