Judge Yoram Danziger
Photo: Avigail Uzi

Supreme Court judge to be questioned under caution

Justice Yoram Danziger becomes first ever presiding judge to come under attorney general investigation; announces leave of absence pursuant to inquiry

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein – having consulted with the state prosecutor, Israel Police head of investigations and intelligence and relevant police and State Prosecutor's Office official – decided Monday to approve the questioning of Supreme Court Judge Yoram Danziger under caution.


Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish and Danziger's representatives were notified accordingly.



Weinstein authorized the police to initiate proceedings to look into the circumstances under which the Bat Yam Municipality hired attorneys and Danziger's firm at that, before he was appointed to judge.


As part of the investigation and examination of the matter known as the Lahiani Affair, the police took Judge Danziger's statement.


After examining the information, the attorney general decided that clarifications were needed to the judge's account of the circumstances that lead to the employment of his firm by the Bat Yam Municipality, and of legal services he provided to Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani, while still a private attorney before his appointment as judge, and of the legality of the relationship between the two.


Furthermore, the attorney general determined that Judge Danziger is to be questioned under caution.


The attorney general clarified that once the investigation and clarification of suspicions are concluded, the enforcement system intends to expedite the handling of the affair in order to form an opinion and reach a decision on the matter in the near future.


Earlier, Danziger notified Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish that he would be taking a leave of absence as of Monday in order to facilitate the investigation.


Although an excepted decision, the fact that a Supreme Court judge takes a leave of absence on the backdrop of a police investigation and possible criminal charges is a heavy blow to Israel's legal system.


Last weekend it was reported that the police plans to request permission to summon Judge Danziger to further questioning on his roll in the Shlomo Lahiani affair. Danziger has been probed in the past by the police as regards the affair but now the police will want to question him under caution (i.e. as a suspect in the affair).


Danziger was questioned last March in his chambers by economic crimes unit investigators about his ties with the mayor of Bat-Yam, Shlomo Lahiani. He was not questioned under caution at the time.


Approximately six weeks ago, the attorney general authorized the police to look into the relationship between the judge and Lahiani. Before Danziger was appointed Supreme Court judge, he worked for the Bat Yam Municipality while at the same time cultivating ties with Lahiani.


As part of the current investigation, the police are investigating an alleged payment of NIS 823,000 ($240,000) Danziger had received from the Bat-Yam municipality for legal services between 2005-2007 – a period in which Lahiani and Danziger were partners in a land purchase in the Sharon region.


Furthermore, according to documents in the possession of the police, Danziger held in trusteeship Lahiani's shares in local newspaper network Gal Gefen. He even represented the mayor when the latter transferred his account from Mizrahi bank to Union Bank after which the municipality opened an account in the same bank.


Judge Danziger, 57, was appointed to the Supreme Court after working in the private sector. The appointment was not a typical one as most Supreme Court judges come from district courts, senior positions at the State Advocacy or the academia. Recently Danziger made an important decision by deferring the sentence of former President Moshe Katsav on the grounds that his appeal was not unfounded.


Click here to read this report in Hebrew



פרסום ראשון: 08.01.11, 17:20
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