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Former Israeli President Moshe Katzav is a convicted rapist

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  • Former Israeli President Moshe Katzav is a convicted rapist

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 23 — The Israeli police on Wednesday questioned President Moshe Katsav at his official residence for five hours regarding allegations of sexual harassment.
    Mr. Katsav, who has denied any wrongdoing, was “questioned under caution,” a legal term in Israel that means the person is the subject of an investigation.
    “The president cooperated in full and answered the investigators’ questions,” said Mr. Katsav’s lawyer, Zion Amir.
    The police planned to return Thursday for additional questioning, according to a police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld.
    The case involves an unnamed woman who previously worked in the president’s office, according to reports in the Israeli news media.
    Under Israeli law, Mr. Katsav is immune from criminal prosecution while he is president, a largely ceremonial position. However, Parliament can remove him from office if it finds he has acted improperly.
    Mr. Katsav’s seven-year term ends next year, and once he is out of office he can be prosecuted, according to the Justice Ministry.
    Also Wednesday, prosecutors indicted the former justice minister, Haim Ramon, on sexual harassment charges. He resigned his post on Sunday, just days after the attorney general said he would file charges.
    According to prosecutors, Mr. Ramon, 56, kissed an 18-year-old female soldier against her will at an office party last month. Mr. Ramon says he is innocent.

    Comment: That's what happened with Moshe Katsav, who is married and has 5 kids, Long live to who is still single but quiet?

  • #2
    Israeli police: Enough evidence found to indict Katsav on sex charges


    • #3
      Eighth allegation of sexual assault filed against Katsav


      • #4
        The police plan to announce the official end of their investigation into the case of President Moshe Katsav on Sunday, and police sources said that the probe has produced evidence to support all three of the possible charges against the president: sexual offenses, improprieties in the pardons process and illegal wiretapping of President's Residence employees.

        The prosecution must still decide whether this evidence is sufficient for an indictment. However, senior police officials said this weekend that they believe an indictment is certain; the only question, they said, is on which charges.

        Prosecution sources said that at least with regard to the sex offenses, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is expected to adopt the police's recommendation to indict. Police have received complaints from 10 women against Katsav, and police sources said that an indictment could be filed in three or four of these cases.

        With regard to both the sexual offenses and the pardons process, the police have evidence that has not previously been published in the media, the sources said.

        But Katsav's lawyer, Zion Amir, insisted on Saturday that the evidence does not justify indicting his client in any of the three categories of charges.

        The prosecution may also decide to indict certain senior employees of the President's Residence on charges of abetting some of Katsav's alleged crimes, the police sources said.

        With regard to the pardons issue, both the director general of the President's Residence and the residence's legal advisor have already been questioned under warning, and police sources said that over the last few days, they have uncovered additional evidence of improprieties in the granting of pardons.

        The Justice Ministry plans to hold a final meeting on the Katsav case on Sunday, during which the police team investigating the president will give the prosecution its latest findings and also, presumably, its recommendations on whether to indict. Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel, who has been monitoring the case, is then expected to complete his recommendation in the next few days and pass it on to State Prosecutor Eran Shendar, along with a draft indictment. Mazuz is expected to make his final decision on the case within two weeks.

        Police sources explained that while some of the evidence collected indicates criminal behavior on Katsav's part, much of it seems to point instead to behavior that was merely problematic from a public standpoint.

        Mazuz will thus have to decide whether the "criminal" evidence is strong enough to give the prosecution a reasonable chance of winning a conviction in court.

        The prosecution will also have to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to charge A., the former President's Residence employee who accused Katsav of rape, with attempting to blackmail the president. Police officials said that they believe there is evidence to support such a charge.

        Israeli police: Indictment against President a 'fait accompli'


        • #5
          Moshe Katsav, Israel's president, should be charged with rape and sexual harrassment, police have recommended.

          "There is sufficient evidence indicating that in several cases ... the president carried out acts of rape, forced sexual acts, sexual acts without consent and sexual harassment," the Israeli police said in a statement.

          The recommendation was made during a meeting between police investigators and Meni Mazuz, the Israeli attorney general, who will decided whether the president should face trial.

          According to the statement, the police also believe that there is enough evidence to bring charges of fraud and malfeasance in office over the granting of pardons by the president, as well as charges for carrying out illegal wire-taps.

          Accusations that Katsav disrupted a police investigation and harassed a witness are still being investigated.

          The charges would be the most serious ever brought against a serving Israeli official and Katsav is immune from standing trial unless he is impeached by parliament.

          Katsav has denied any wrongdoing and said he has been the victim of a "public lynching without trial or investigation".

          Israel Radio and Channel 2 TV said the case against the president is based on complaints by five women who claimed he made unwanted sexual advances toward them during his time as president and before that, when he was a government minister.

          Complaints by five other women are not being pursued because the statute of limitations has run out, media reports said.

          A police investigation was launched earlier this year after a former employee alleged he forced her to have sex under the threat of dismissal.

          Police have repeatedly questioned Katsav at his official residence as well as seizing his computer and personal documents.

          The position of president in Israel is largely ceremonial and carries very little real authority.

          Israel's president 'should face rape charge'


          • #6
            The Israeli president has canceled his attendance at the opening ceremony of the winter session of parliament after police recommended he should face rape charges.

            Several MPs, including all members of the liberal Meretz party, had threatened to boycott the ceremony, one of the president's most important and visible duties, if it was attended by Moshe Katsav.

            The president's brother, Lior, said Katsav, who could soon be facing the most serious charges ever brought against an Israeli official, had decided to stay home to protect the dignity of the Knesset, or parliament.

            He told Army Radio; "There are apparently some members of Knesset who want to hover like vultures over carcasses and create provocations and to harm the image of the Knesset and symbols of power in Israel.

            "The president will not be part of this charade."

            Police on Sunday recommended that Katsav be indicted for rape, aggravated sexual assault and other counts, after completing a months-long investigation into complaints by women who worked for him.

            Katsav denies any wrongdoing.

            The final decision on whether to indict the president rests with Meni Mazuz, the attorney general.

            Although a decision is likely to be weeks away, calls on Katsav to temporarily step aside or resign are growing.

            Katsav's lawyer, Zion Amir, said his client has no plans to step down, though a formal indictment would "be a turning point that the president will have to take into consideration".

            While Israel has a long history of political scandals, the charges that Katsav could face would be the most serious criminal counts ever brought against a serving official.

            Katsav, who has not commented on the police recommendations, has said he is the victim of a conspiracy.

            "We have no doubt of his innocence," Lior Katsav said.

            "We know he is being framed and he is being blamed of things that did not happen."

            Katsav skips ceremony amid rape claims


            • #7
              Israeli president lies low after rape claim


              • #8
                Vladimir Putin's international image has been tainted after it emerged he had let slip another of his infamous remarks - this time praising the president of Israel for alleged sex offences.

                "He turned out to be a strong man, raped 10 women," the Russian president was quoted by Russian media as saying at a meeting in Moscow with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. "I never would have expected it of him. He has surprised us all, we all envy him!"

                Israeli police announced on Sunday that the president, Moshe Katsav, could be charged with the rape and sexual harassment of several women.
                Mr Putin, a former KGB spy, is well known for his crude off-the-cuff quips. On Wednesday he and Mr Olmert met reporters before talks on Iran and bilateral relations. "Say hi to your president - he really surprised us," Mr Putin was heard saying to Mr Olmert as the Kremlin press conference ended.

                That was the only comment that reached most journalists' ears, but Andrei Kolesnikov, a Kremlin pool veteran, heard the rest. "It was one of those moments when you couldn't believe your ears," he said. Another reporter said officials had burst into laughter.

                One of Mr Olmert's delegation said Mr Putin referred to "dealing with" 10 women, not raping them.

                The Kremlin press service confirmed the remarks but said it did not know the exact wording. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC the comments were meant as a joke and "in no way meant that President Putin welcomes rape.

                "Russian is a very complicated language, sometimes it is very sensitive from the point of view of phrasing."

                Russian leader in dock over sex case remarks


                • #9
                  On a smooth, trimmed lawn, Israel's tuneful police band entertained the thousands of visitors who trooped though the President's residence in Jerusalem during a recent open day. But few of the onlookers missed the irony that President Moshe Katsav could face a less festive visit by the police if the country's attorney-general decides to indict him on charges of rape, sexual harassment, illegal wiretapping and fraud.

                  For his supporters who came to shake the President's hand, it was a political witch hunt. But for others outside the President's residence, such as Naomi Schneidermann from the Association of Rape crisis centres in Israel who came to call for his resignation, it was yet another shameful episode involving the country's leadership: 'I think this affair has done terrible damage not only to the particular office of President but also in the message we are sending to our citizens.'

                  For months police have been investigating Israel's head of state following revelations that a woman employee at the presidential office alleged that he had raped her. A string of other women came forward with similar allegations, all of which Katsav has strenuously denied.

                  Katsav is the most recent and most senior figure to have been caught up in a swath of scandals that have cut through Israeli public life. On a single day last week, two former justice ministers began separate trials. Chaim Ramon, who served until recently in the current government, is charged with forcibly kissing a young female soldier, and his predecessor, Tzachi Hanegbi, is also in court following allegations of making illegal political appointments.

                  Public disgust at the country's leaders, both political and military, has reached a peak following the recent war in Lebanon, which many Israelis believe was mismanaged. Many feel that there is a link between the succession of scandals involving sex, money and fraud and the war. Now Israelis are angrily questioning what has gone wrong. Jerusalem has become a focal point for their despair and frustration. There is a palpable sense of division between the people, the politicians and the generals.

                  Outside the heavily protected Prime Minister's office, by a busy junction, is a tent made of banners calling on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, along with his Defence Minister and Army Chief of Staff, to resign. Activists sitting in plastic chairs in the sun wear T-shirts emblazoned with the words: 'A people of heroes - A government of cowards.' Ari Shavit, a columnist for the liberal Haaretz newspaper, has described 'a tremendous gap [between] the worst of Israeli society at the very top and the energy, creativity and resilience of ordinary Israelis'.

                  Israel's politicians and generals were once seen as puritanical figures devoted to the national good. David Ben Gurion the nation's revered first Prime Minister, chose to retire to a kibbutz in the desert. Today many Israelis contrast that with recent former leaders who appear to prefer the comfort of the lecture tour circuit and lucrative consultancies.

                  In the early years of the Jewish state, collectivism and aestheticism were embraced by the socialist establishment that ruled the country. But in the past 20 years Israel has become wealthier and more individualistic. Israelis have long desired normality in their personal lives as well as their politics.

                  Many now believe that the perceived weakness of their leadership may be a symptom of that change. Dan Halutz, the Army Chief of Staff, was reported to have sold his shares portfolio on the first day of the Lebanon war. While he did nothing illegal, his actions caused an outcry, not simply because he was involved in looking after his personal finances at a time of national crisis but also because it was thought that a senior military figure should not have been concerned in any way with personal enrichment.

                  Israelis from opposite ends of the political spectrum find themselves united in their shared sense of disillusionment. At a candlelit rally last week in central Jerusalem left-wingers bearing the banners of the anti-occupation Meretz organisation stood alongside members of Bnei Akiva, a religious youth organisation which strongly supports the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

                  The rally had been called to demonstrate for a state inquiry into the conduct of the war. But for many it was more about expressing dissatisfaction with the direction of the country as a whole. 'We want our children to grow up and be proud of what's happening and to be part of something positive, and I don't feel that at the moment,' said Helen Lowenstein, who works in education. One of her three children is in the army and she said that she had grown used to the corruption of the politicians but had come to the rally because 'now it's even entered the army'.

                  Yet there are those who believe that the leadership crisis may provide an opportunity for change. Shavit believes 'there is a reasonable chance for change for the better' as ordinary people who have been put off politics now become involved to improve matters.

                  The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, an organisation with 20,000 members, believes that the public may now be receptive to its message of constitutional reform.

                  Others perceive a growing fatigue within Israeli society. A well-known sociologist in Jerusalem describes the situation as grim, but adds that he believes in 'the politics of hope'.

                  For ordinary Israelis this appears to be an unusual time. They feel as though they have been cast adrift from their leaders. One man demonstrating outside the President's residence in Jerusalem said he has come 'because I am pained and lonely because of the government that forgot me'.

                  The question is whether his actions, and those of others, will be enough to heal the breach between the leaders and the people of Israel.

                  Weary Israel loses faith in its leaders


                  • #10
                    Israel's attorney general told the supreme court yesterday that President Moshe Katsav should step down amid a criminal investigation into rape and sexual assault allegations.

                    In a statement to the court, Menachem Mazuz said the president should "suspend" himself from office while the investigation continued. Police have already said they have enough evidence to charge Mr Katsav with rape and sexual assault as well as fraud, illegal wiretapping, bribery and obstruction of justice.

                    Mr Mazuz is now studying whether or not to charge the president and if so what charges he should face.

                    It could be several weeks before the attorney general makes a decision.

                    Mr Katsav denies all the charges.

                    Israeli president told: step down


                    • #11
                      As the investigation against President Moshe Katsav surrounding allegations of sexual assault nears completion, authorities plan to bring the president in Wednesday for a final round of questioning.

                      Police and prosecution officials agreed to question the president once final time to fill in the missing gaps before presenting the indictment.

                      It appears Katsav will not be charged with rape but will face charges for other sexual offenses, Haaretz learned Monday. Charges against Katsav will be brought to court no later than March, 2007; most probably the president will be charged with forced sexual assault and non-consensual sexual intercourse.

                      The Justice Ministry is attempting to expedite work on the case so Katsav's defense attorneys will have two to three months to prepare for the hearing.

                      If there are no unforeseen delays, the work of officials at the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office will be completed within a month. At that point, in early December, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is expected to announce his decision, in principle, to press charges against Katsav.

                      No decision on the indictment will be made at the Justice Ministry before the High Court of Justice deliberations (scheduled for November 27) regarding a petition calling for Katsav to step down are completed.

                      Following the deliberations at the High Court, the investigation material will be given to Katsav's defense attorneys, Professor David Libai and attorney Zion Amir, so they can prepare for the hearing. The amount of time they will be granted for preparing their position will not exceed three months, and therefore the hearing will be conducted in late February or early March.

                      Justice Ministry sources denied rumors that Katsav's defense team would be granted up to six months to prepare.

                      In less than 10 days from the hearing, a final decision on pressing charges against the president will be made no later than March, 2007.

                      Unlike previous estimates, the timetable above indicates Mazuz will announce his final decision on pressing charges early in 2007 and not close to July, when Katsav's term in office comes to an end.

                      This suggests Katsav will not be able to avoid stepping down: A decision to press charges closer to July would have made this step redundant.

                      The president has said that if a final decision is made to press charges against him, he will resign. However, sources at the Justice Ministry say Katsav will step down, either of his own volition or by a Knesset decision, at an earlier stage than his declaration suggests.

                      Katsav is considering asking the Knesset to allow him to step down temporarily if Mazuz decides in principle to press charges against him. However, Katsav reportedly does not intend to resign his post until a final decision is made - after the hearing.

                      Meanwhile, the State Prosecutor's Office has decided to delay some of the final interviews in the investigation, including the final questioning of Katsav, in the hope these can be carried out once Katsav steps down from his post.

                      The idea is to create the necessary conditions for employees in the President's Office to offer uninhibited evidence regarding allegations that Katsav tampered with witnesses and the investigation. If there is no change in the status of Katsav in the coming weeks, the final interviews will be carried out anyway.

                      Legal experts believe Mazuz will decide to press charges against Katsav, even though the hearing can, in theory, alter the attorney general's view.

                      The Jerusalem District Attorney's Office is preparing various versions of an indictment. Mazuz is relying on the police recommendations he received last month, which say Katsav should be indicted, primarily for sexual offenses.

                      Katsav to undergo final round of questioning in sex assault probe


                      • #12
                        Moshe Katsav, the President of Israel, is to be charged with rape and other sexual offences against four women who worked for him in his present office or in his previous job as minister of tourism. He also faces allegations of fraud, breach of trust, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.

                        The Attorney-General, Menachem Mazuz, notified Mr Katsav of this decision yesterday. He had, he said, concluded that there was enough prima facie evidence to indict. He decided not to proceed on complaints lodged by six other women. If convicted of rape, 61-year-old Mr Katsav, who has five children, could face a maximum of 16 years in prison.

                        He has protested his innocence since police began investigating him last July. His lawyer, David Liba'i, said last night that he would continue to fight to clear his name, but he hinted that the President would suspend himself pending a trial. His critics said that was no longer adequate.

                        The rape charge concerns a woman who worked for Mr Katsav at the tourism ministry in 1998-99. He is also accused of a series of offences against the original complainant, identified as "A", in the President's office: using his position of superiority to obtain sex, non-consensual sex, assault and sexual harassment. He is said to have assaulted and harassed two other members of his presidential staff.

                        The Iranian-born President, like any Israeli public figure facing criminal proceedings, has a right to a hearing by the law officers before the indictment is confirmed, but Ran Cohen, a left-wing Meretz party MP, said last night: "He must resign immediately, now that he has humiliated the institution of the presidency and the public."

                        Frances Raday, a law professor and women's rights campaigner, commented: "The decision to prosecute gives hope that women's dignity will be respected. But the fact that the President did not resign, and that the political system did not rise up with one voice and require him to do so, is a serious comment on the corrupt, patriarchal nature of Israeli politics."

                        If Mr Katsav goes, his ceremonial duties would be taken over by Dalia Itzik, the Knesset Speaker, until a new election is held. If he refuses, parliament would have to impeach him, which requires a vote of 90 of the 120 legislators. His seven-year term, and with it his immunity, is due to expire in July.

                        Israeli President faces calls to resign over rape charges


                        • #13

                          A majority of Israelis think their President, Moshe Katsav, should resign following the decision to indict him for rape and sexual harassment.

                          Polls in two leading newspapers yesterday suggested that between 66 and 71 per cent of Israelis think the 61-year-old head of state should resign.

                          Instead, the President has asked the Knesset to allow him to stand aside temporarily to clear his name. That would allow him to avoid resignation or impeachment sought by some MPs.

                          The crisis surrounding the Iranian-born Mr Katsav intensified after a dramatic television appearance on Wednesday night, in which he accused the media, police and the Attorney-General of conspiring to destroy him.

                          A highly emotional Mr Katsav repeatedly diverged from his speech to attack his accusers, including the women who made complaints against him, claiming a "witch-hunt". In the course of an hour he banged the podium, shouted down questions and clashed repeatedly with a news anchor from Channel Two television.

                          "Don't believe the libel, the defamation, the lies. There is only one truth … I am the target of one of the worst attacks in the history of the state of Israel," he said.

                          As he spoke, his wife Gila, accompanied by several of her children, sat weeping quietly.

                          Media reaction was overwhelmingly negative, with commentators pointing out that apart from blanket denials, Mr Katsav had said nothing to explain how 10 women — many of whom did not know each other — came to make complaints about predatory sexual behaviour.

                          "The President's emotional tempest last night was genuine," wrote Nahum Barnea in Yedioth Ahronoth. "It wasn't an act: he truly feels that he is a victim. But his subjective view does not necessarily tell us much about what really happened."

                          Writing in Ma'ariv, editor Amnon Danker suggested that the President was "sawing off the branch on which he is sitting. He cannot accuse the police of sabotage and of attempted putsch and, at the same time, embrace and vaunt it. He has to resign."

                          Prime Minster Ehud Olmert, himself the subject of corruption investigations, said the President should give up his mainly ceremonial duties and move out of the residence. But he stopped short of telling him to resign.

                          But several ministers called on Mr Katsav to resign and 30 MPs have signed a petition to begin impeachment proceedings. It is thought unlikely that they can muster the 75 per cent majority needed.

                          Police began investigating Mr Katsav after he complained that a former employee was trying to blackmail him with allegations of sexual harassment.

                          The investigation identified at least 10 former female employees during his tenure as tourism ministry and later as President who made allegations including sexual harassment, using his position improperly to gain sex, indecent acts and rape.

                          This week, Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz said he had decided in principle to indict the President for raping one woman and for several charges in relation to four. Complaints by five others had exceeded the statute of limitations.

                          If convicted, Mr Katsav could face 16 years in prison.


                          • #14
                            The Knesset House Committee on Sunday extended President Moshe Katsav's temporary suspension until the end of his presidency on July 15.

                            The president had asked the committee to extend his suspension "until further notice," but Knesset legal advisor Nurit Elstein determined that the suspension could only be expanded for a specific period of time.

                            Katsav can, however, terminate the period of incapacitation at any time. In its decision, the committee criticized the president for not resigning.

                            The extension was approved by an 11-4 margin, with all those who voted in favor being members of the governing coalition. Most of those opposed to the measure were opposition members, and said they were opposed to extending the temporary suspension in order to bring public pressure to bear on the president to resign.

                            Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On called the decision embarrassing, while Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar suggested adding the phrase "for the glory of the State of Israel", a reference to the Declaration of Independence.

                            Coalition Chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki (Kadima) accused those who voted against the extension as taking advantage of the knowledge that the extension would be approved.

                            Nontheless, Yitzhaki added his voice to the "protest over the fact that Katsav is still president. He is shaming himself and the presidency."

                            Prosecution: Police did not use wiretapping in Katsav probe

                            The state prosecution told the High Court of Justice Sunday that the police did not use wiretaps during the investigation into Katsav, despite claims by his defense team.

                            The president's lawyers base the charges on an electronic chip discovered in a telephone device and on the prosecution's request that some evidence gathered in the investigation be declared privileged and not transmitted to the defense.

                            But during the court hearing Sunday, the prosecution stressed that there was no wiretapping of Katsav, his family or his associates.

                            In fact, the prosecution said, the only wiretapping used in the entire case was against A., one of Katsav's accusers who worked in the president's official residence, and who was suspected of attempting to blackmail the president before the probe developed into an investigation into the allegations against Katsav.

                            Katsav defense attorneys Zion Amir, Avigdor Feldman and Avraham Lavi asked High Court on Sunday that it order all investigative material be handed over, including anything acquired through wiretaps.

                            "If covert wiretaps were used, they broke all the rules," said a source on the Katsav defense team last week.

                            According to the source, if Katsav himself was wiretapped then his immunity was violated, since a president discusses work matters on the telephone.


                            • #15
                              JERUSALEM (AP) - President Moshe Katsav's lawyers made a last-ditch effort on Wednesday to stave off an indictment on rape and other sexual assault charges at a hearing before Israel's top prosecutor.

                              Attorney General Meni Mazuz notified Katsav in January that he intends to press charges of rape, sexual assault and fraud based on allegations by four women who used to work for the president.

                              Following standard practice in charges involving senior officials, Katsav was entitled to a hearing before an indictment is filed. The various crimes of rape, sexual assault, fraud and obstruction of justice could carry a total of 46 years in prison.

                              Katsav, who denies all wrongdoing, has taken a leave of absence from the ceremonial presidency, but has refused to resign. He did not attend the hearing.

                              "In our opinion there are no grounds to file an indictment against the president, on any one of the counts,'' Katsav's lawyer, Zion Amir, told Army Radio before the hearing began. "There is much testimony about a certain kind of conduct ... and our arguments expose its hollowness.''

                              For decades, the 61-year-old Katsav had been considered a lackluster but affable lawmaker, Cabinet minister and president until allegations surfaced last year that he was a predatory boss who forced sexual favors from female employees.

                              His four accusers worked with him either in the president's office or when he was tourism minister in the late 1990s. At least one has said he threatened to make sure she never got another job if she refused to have sex with him in his office.

                              Katsav has said his accusers are seeking revenge because he fired them.

                              In an hour-long televised tirade before he stepped aside in January, Katsav insisted he was innocent and accused the media and the police of conspiring against him.

                              "I am not prepared to give in to blackmail, to lies,'' Katsav said at the time. "Truth is on my side.''

                              Katsav's seven-year term is set to expire later this year.

                              The accusations have infuriated Israelis, for whom the president is a moral beacon. No sitting Israeli president has ever been charged with a crime.

                              But the Israeli public has grown accustomed to the spectacle of politicians mired in scandals. Former Justice Minister Haim Ramon is now performing community service after being convicted in a separate sexual misconduct case.

                              Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, fighting for his political life following the release of a highly critical probe of last summer's Lebanon war, is under investigation for his role in the sale of a government-controlled bank and separate cases involving real estate deals.


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