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Photo: AFP
Katsav granted luxury office in Tel Aviv
Former president demands new office be located in one of metropolitan's most prestigious buildings. Stalled sexual harassment case, AG order saying Katsav still eligible for all benefits leaves Treasury powerless to refuse

The Beit Amot Mishpat office building in the middle of Tel Aviv will soon have a new tenant – former president Moshe Katsav.

 

Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday that Katsav informed the Finance Ministry that he would like his new office to be located in the prestigious building. He reportedly refused to even consider any other alternative.

 

Katsav, who was forces to resign after being charged with several counts of sexual harassment, reneged on the plea bargain agreement in April. The Attorney General's Office has yet to file a new indictment in his case and therefore he has yet to stand trial.

 

In the absence of a court order stripping Katsav of his rights as a former president, the state is obligated to provide him with an office. Beit Amot Mishpat – considered one of Tel Aviv's prime locations – houses many embassies, as well as offices held by former presidents and prime ministers.

 

The Finance Ministry hoped that the Knesset's Finance Committee would suspend Katsav's post-presidential rights, but since the committee opted to wait for the trail before making any decisions, it has no choice but to accommodate the demand.

 

The Treasury also called on Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to resolve the matter, but he informed them that as long as the case against Katsav is pending, and until the court decided whether or not to convict him of moral turpitude, he will remain eligible for all State benefits and services former presidents are entitled to.

 

Katsav has also applied for a luxury car, two assistants and an expense account.

 

The Finance Ministry confirmed that Katsav asked for his new office to be housed in Beit Amot Mishpat, adding that "the location is one of several being considered, but no final decision had been made at this time."

 

Ronen Zur, Katsav's advisor, told Yedioth Ahronoth that "the request has been approved, following the attorney general's order that the former president is eligible for all benefits."

 

Ofer Petersburg contributed to this report

 

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