Did she have phone number? Nili Priel with Barak (archives)
Photo: AP

Officials: Illegal maid case against Barak's wife to be reopened

Probe was closed after Nili Priel claimed she did not have foreign worker's contact details, but reporter managed to track her down easily. Justice Ministry says preferred not to ask Shin Bet for help because it wanted to prevent bodyguards from having to testify against defense minister

Senior law enforcement officials estimated that the Attorney General's Office will order the reopening of the investigation against Defense Minister Ehud Barak's wife, Nili Priel, who is suspected of illegally employing a foreign worker at the couple's Tel Aviv apartment.


The case was closed after the cleaning lady, a Filipina woman, could not be located. Priel admitted to employing the woman, but said she had no information about how she could be located or contacted.


However, Israel Radio reporter Carmela Menashe tracked the foreign worker down after the case had been closed. According to Menashe, the woman told her that Priel had her current phone number and that she was never "missing."


The officials told Ynet Sunday night that Priel may be summoned for another interrogation regarding her claim that she did not have the worker's phone number.


Lying to an investigator is a criminal offense.


One of the key questions in the case is why the investigators chose not to ask the Shin Bet for the foreign worker's details. The Justice Ministry explained that it did not turn to the security agency for assistance to avoid a situation whereby bodyguards would be called to testify against Minister Barak.


The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel filed a petition against the decision to close the case. The State Prosecutor's Office is expected to provide its answer by November 4.


The Justice Ministry stressed that the initial investigation was launched by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, adding that the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's decision to close it was reached following discussions between with State Prosecutor Moshe Lador.


Kav LaOved (Worker's Hotline), a nonprofit organization committed to "protecting the rights of disadvantaged workers employed in Israel," said law enforcement agencies are helping Barak and other people of his stature to be "above the law."


Priel and Barak's office refused to comment on the developments.


Yael Branovsky, Attila Somfalvi and Ronen Medzini contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 10.18.10, 00:46
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