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Former president waiting for prosecution
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Katsav arrives at police station
Photo: Avi Moalem
Police: Charge Katsav with rape
Following confrontation between former president, his former Tourism Ministry employee, police sources tell Ynet there is sufficient evidence to indict Katsav for rape. Former president's aide says 'confrontation a death blow to A.'s case'. Complainant's lawyer: She stuck to the truth

Moshe Katsav was confronted for the first time by his former secretary, known as A., as part of the probe into sexual offenses by the former president.

 

Katsav arrived at the Police Economic Crimes Unit headquarters in Lod on Friday morning and left 40 minutes later. The confrontation was originally scheduled to last 90 minutes.

 

Police sources told Ynet following the confrontation that they were sticking to their previous recommendation that there was sufficient evidence to file a severe indictment against the former president and charge him with rape.

 

They added that an additional confrontation would not take place and that the investigation had been completed.

 

A. is the person responsible for the police's most severe suspicion against Katsav – rape. This clause was excluded from the plea bargain signed between the former president and the State, which Katsav eventually reneged on and which accused him of commiting an indecent act against her.

 

The meeting was held at the presence of place on Friday at the presence of the investigating officer in charge of the case, Brigadier General Yoav Segalovich. Each side was allowed to direct questions to the other side.

 

As one of the conditions of the meeting, both sides were forbidden from revealing to the press its exact time and location. Katsav's attorneys only agreed to the meeting recently.

  

Following the confrontation, the war of versions between the sides continued. Katsav's associates referred to the confrontation as "a death blow to A.'s case". According to the aides, A. did not ask former president questions, while he presented her with details making her testimony to the police seem unreliable.

 

On the other side, A.'s associates presented a different version, saying that the State Prosecutor's Office had no reason to take its time anymore and expressing their hope that an indictment would be filed soon.

 

"The only information the president's aides can receive is from Katsav himself, whose reliability is questionable or non-existent. This is how one should refer to the remarks made by his aides."

 

The police were expected to hand over their conclusions from the confrontation to the State Prosecutor's Office, which will decide whether to indict Katsav and on what offenses. One option is that the rape clause would be returned to the indictment.

 

'Contradictions growing stronger'

Ynet has learned that during the confrontation Katsav asked A. why she continued to call him even after he had allegedly harassed her. Sources close to the former president also noted that in the State's response to the High Court last year, the prosecution explained why A. could not be trusted.

 

"The difficulties and the contradiction, as detailed in the secret part of the State Prosecutor's Office statement, grow stronger in light of everything that happened during the confrontation," one of the aides said.

 

The associates continued to claim after the confrontation that "nothing can be based on A. from the tourism Ministry. The police and State Prosecutor's Office should close the case and apologize to Katsav for the severe accusations and claims made against him by A."

 

The former president's associates went on to claim that what A. said during the confrontation did not match what she told the police and that there were contradictions in her previous testimonies as well.

 

"We believe this case must be closed. Katsav's innocence emerges from all evidence. We believe the confrontations sealed the affair once and for all and that the police recommendations must be rejected as well," one of the close aides said.

 

A.'s lawyer, Danny Srur, said that "A. stuck to the truth as she has done throughout the entire police investigation. We hope the State Prosecutor's Office finally files an indictment against Katsav and that the truth comes out in court.

 

"In this serious affair only the court is authorized to decide whether Katsav is guilty, and the decisions cannot be made by one advocate or another – only by the court. It would have been appropriate if all the sides, including the associates, refrained from referring to remarks made during the confrontation," Attorney Srur added.

 

Katsav's lawyers – Zion Amir, Avi Lavi and Avigdor Feldman – refused to refer to the details of the confrontation.

  

Renewed investigation

The investigative police team was instructed by a new state prosecution team to investigate the accusations against Katsav further. A., who served under Katsav while the latter was the tourism minister, has accused him of sexual misconduct and rape.

 

The former president's lawyers recently transferred several correspondences and other documents to the police, demonstrating that A. had stayed in contact with Katsav long after the alleged offenses took place. The State Prosecutor's office instructed police to mediate a meeting between the two sides, pursuant to this new evidence.

 

The renewed investigation is expected to last a few weeks, at which time prosecutor Ronit Amiel will submit her recommendation to State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who will then decide whether or not to indict Katsav.

 

Aviad Glickman contributed to this report

 


First published: 19.12.08, 13:02
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