Photo: Gil Yochanan
President Katsav
Photo: Gil Yochanan
Photo: Yoav Galai
Katsav's secretary
Photo: Yoav Galai
Impending investigation of Katsav affair
More testimonies come to light; investigative team assigned case, to most likely enter President's Residence soon

As the affair of "the president and the secretary" branches out, police estimate that an investigative team, that received the case file Wednesday morning, will soon enter the President's Residence. Despite the illuminating letter that the president sent to the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz decided to order a criminal investigation of the embarrassing affair.


Prior to a meeting with Minister of Education Yuli Tamir Wednesday morning, Katsav responded to a question about his possible intention to suspend himself from office during the course of the investigation or to resign altogether.


"I am glad that the attorney general decided to investigate this issue. I believe that the investigation will clear away the fog and bring the true picture to light," he said.


In the meantime, news agencies brought forth more and more testimonies of what apparently took place at the residence, one of the state's primary national symbols.


Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper detailed how the complainant, A', got her job, and tells the story of N', a junior worker who quickly rose in the ranks. The newspaper describes the struggle between the two women, which frequently resulted in heated arguments heard all over the presidential residence. It was further revealed that A' tended to go into the president's office in the afternoon and stay there for an hour, with the door locked. But A' wasn't the only one; N' also frequented the office, on the days when A' was taking classes.


A year and a half ago, divulges the newspaper, A' asked to take unpaid leave in order to fly to New York. A few months later, rumors spread in the presidential residence claiming that she was sending 'hot' letters to the president from New York. Upon returning to Israel in November, at which time she was experiencing financial hardships, she asked to meet with Katsav.


Testimonies from 5 different women


During the meeting, she asked to come back to work for the president in her former role or have him find her an appropriate job. A few months later, the two met again and A' asked once more to return to her former position. The final meeting between them took place last week, during which A' asked for half a million dollars from the president, and requested that he find her a fitting job. At this point, Katsav consulted the attorney general.


Ha'aretz newspaper claimed to have received testimonies from five different women formerly employed by the president, who described the difficulty of their work relationship with the president, as well as various inappropriate comments made by him.


One of the women, who worked with Katsav when he was a minister, said that she had rejected the president's advances.


As the hours pass and the list of testimonies grows, legal and political sources suspect more strongly that the race for the president, scheduled to take place in July 2007, will be moved forward once again.


Efrat Weiss contributed to the report


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