Lawyer asks AG to bar Yitzhak Molcho from working for PM
Attorney Shahar Ben-Meir claims Molcho's continued work for the prime minister constitutes a conflict of interest as he is also a senior partner at the same law firm as David Shimron, who is currently under investigation for suspected corruption in submarines deal.
An Israeli lawyer has asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to bar attorney Yitzhak Molcho from continuing to work as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy.
Molcho works with attorney David Shimron, who is currently under investigation for suspected corruption in two massive defense procurement deals for submarines and patrol ships that Israel signed with German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp.
Attorney Shahar Ben-Meir claims Molcho's continued work for the prime minister constitutes a conflict of interest.
"Since 2010, there has been a legal and administrative 'extraterritorial' area in the Prime Minister's Office, where a private individual who is not a state employees, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, serves as a 'private foreign ministry' of sorts for the prime minister, while at the same time working as a senior partner in the law firm E. S. Shimron, I. Molcho, Persky & Co. This inappropriate 'extraterritorial' area has unfortunately gotten your approval as an attorney general as well as that of your predecessor," Ben-Meir wrote in a letter to Mandelblit.
Ben-Meir went on to state that, "Molcho is not subject to any laws that apply to state employees and public employees. At the same time, he continues being a senior partner and enjoying the earnings of a law firm. This is already wrong, as the employment of a private individual in positions reserved for state authorities should have been stopped. The fact that you, as an attorney general, and your predecessor, did not see anything wrong about this is problematic in itself."
Ben-Meir noted that Shimron, who is one of Netanyahu's close confidants and advisors, is now a suspect in a criminal investigation. "And that is not the most absurd situation we currently face, with Shimron being investigated by police for suspicions concerning issues Molcho has been handling... This state of affairs highlights the failure point and illustrates just how grave Molcho's employment is and how a 'conflict of interest' could become worse when it's not stopped at the start," he wrote.
"Shimron is being investigated by police, Molcho continues working, and they're both enjoying payments for their services in the submarines deal, as if this is how things are supposed to be in a state of law," he added.
Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber was entrusted with handling Ben-Meir's request. Ben-Meir gave the Attorney General's Office 30 days to respond to his request before he petitions the High Court of Justice.