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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Moshe Katsav’

Ex-President, Ex-Judge, Ex-Banker: Three Sinners Seeking Early Parole

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

“It sounds like the opening for a joke,” Walla reporter Avi Ashkenazi wrote Wednesday morning: “A former president, a former district judge, and a former banker meet at the parole board.” On Thursday, a riveted country will await the ruling of the parole board deliberating the future of those three prestigious sinners: Moshe Katsav, Dan Cohen, and Eti Alon, who were made to pay with their freedom for bringing shame on Israel’s public institutions.

The most renowned of the three, former president Katsav, is a special case on several levels. For one thing, his parole hearing earlier this year ended in a rejection, with the board pointing out that Katsav’s refusal to accept his guilt, much less express regret over his sexual harassment of female underlings, of which he was convicted, mean that he is not a proper candidate for rehabilitation.

But former presidents have friends in high places, and Katsav, who will turn 71 in December, appealed his rejection by the parole board, and the district court ruled that the board must reconsider his parole application. The court ruling was based on a new opinion submitted by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority (PRA) saying Katsav could undergo rehabilitation treatment outside the prison walls. This new filing represents a 180 degree turn from the PRA’s original opinion, and many in Israel’s media have suggested the writing is on the wall: Katsav is going home, having served 4 years and 8 months of his 7-year sentence.

It should be noted that the PRA’s website states there is an essential correlation between the rehabilitation of prisoners and their ongoing psychological therapy in collaboration with the Prisons Authority. Presumably, accepting responsibility for one’s crimes must be the cornerstone of such therapy — how would such an acceptance be even possible when society gives the criminal a break and sends him home? What’s left for him to regret?

Former Judge Dan Cohen, 74, served on the board of the Israel Electric Company, and was convicted of accepting a bribe from Siemens AG, a German conglomerate considered the largest engineering company in Europe. Cohen accepted a plea bargain in 2013, of 6 years in prison and a fine of $1.57 million. Cohen, who is serving his term in the geriatric section of (white-collar) Ma’asiyahu Prison, has asked to be released after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Finally, Eti Alon, the former banker, was convicted of embezzling $65 million from the customers of the Bank of Commerce, coupled with setting up 206 fictitious accounts (the entire bank had only 1,300 accounts) to which she awarded lavish loans. Most of this money was used to cover the illegal gambling debts of Alon’s brother, Ofer Maximov, to the underworld. Alon’s crimes led to the collapse of the Bank of Commerce, and she was sentenced to 17 years in prison. She was up for parole back in 2015, but the state prosecution objected to cutting off 2 years, arguing she had been in cahoots with criminal elements and to date had not paid the court’s fine of $1.3 million. In February Alon was rejected once more, but, according to one NRG report, this time the prosecution is willing to set her free.


Pres. Reuven Rivlin to Review Katzav Request for Clemecy

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin is facing a politically delicate situation when he soon will be forced to decide whether or not to grant clemency to former president Moshe Katzav, currently serving a prison term for rape and other sexual offenses.

The president’s office issued a statement Sunday saying no formal request has yet been received, but that if and when it is, the president will give the request the same due consideration he gives all such requests, and will consult with all the relevant authorities.

Katzav has never acknowledged his guilt despite his conviction on the charges, nor has he ever expressed remorse.

He was denied early parole on April 6 after applying to the parole board earlier this year.

The parole board committee stated at the time, “The prisoner views himself as a victim. He is blaming external factors for his situation, still conducting himself in an aggressive manner and is self-centered, focusing on his own needs and losses and on the price he and his family have paid.

“Even in response to our questions, the prisoner did not show regret or empathy for his victims, and continued to mention the heavy price he paid and continues to pay.”

He is serving a seven-year sentence after his conviction in 2010 on charges of rape, sexual harassment and indecent assault.

Hana Levi Julian

Former PM Ehud Olmert Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to serve six years in prison. The judge also imposed a fine of NIS 1 million ($289,000.)  He ordered authorities to seize NIS 500,000 in funds the former prime minister has collected from various sources, including numerous speaking engagements in the United States.

Olmert was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence on September 1, pending appeal.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen handed down the sentence in what has become known as the famed “Holyland trial” after Olmert was convicted on two charges of bribery.

The former prime minister was convicted of taking bribes from contractors who built the Holyland residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

The rezoning and other “adjustments” that came in exchange for bribes continued through the 1990s and into the next decade. These were the years in which Olmert served as mayor of the capital city and minister of industry, trade and infrastructure. Both were pivotal posts from which to smooth the way for the developers of the Holyland project.

Olmert was also recently questioned on suspicion of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television. The allegations are based on recordings given to police by former Olmert aide Shula Zaken, his closest aide, also convicted in the wide-ranging Holyland scandal. Zaken gave police the recordings as part of her plea bargain with the prosecution.

The Holyland trial has dragged on for years, tainting Olmert’s term as prime minister and shadowing the country’s years beyond while bringing down numerous aides and colleagues.

Before pronouncing sentence, the judge pointed out that Olmert is an “intelligent, brilliant people person” and called him an “avid Zionist.” He praised him for donating to bereaved families and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center.

But he then sharply reprimanded the former state leader, saying “The crime of bribery pollutes public service, destroys governments…” and called it “one of the worst crimes.”

Rosen said Olmert was guilty of moral turpitude — a term that means the ex-politican will be forced to wait at least seven years before re-entering the field. The judge added that those who take bribes are equivalent to “traitors” in their betrayal of the public trust.

To punish that betrayal, the judge revoked the 10 percent of Olmert’s mayoral pension.

Olmert has been convicted previously charges of corruption. In 2012, he was pronounced guilty of taking bribes in a Jerusalem case.

That trial earned the former mayor and subsequent minister and prime minister a light sentence of community service only. The judge in the case said in his decision that Olmert’s state leadership as prime minister had afforded him the right to leniency.

Not so today, however.  Judge Rosen said in his decision that the higher the post of the public servant, the harsher the punishment for bribery should be.

“Those who belong to the social and economic elite of the nation should not be held to the same standard as those in common society,” Rosen said. He added in explanation that his hands were tied by law in meting out the punishment, and that he was enjoined by those legal guidelines to set a minimum sentence without discretion.

Olmert issued a statement prior to sentencing saying that he was innocent and protesting an expected sentence that included prison time.

“This is a sad day on which a severe and unjust verdict is to be handed down to an innocent man,” Olmert said in his statement.

He has 45 days to appeal in Supreme Court – which he plans to do,, said Olmert spokesperson Amir Dan. He added that he hopes “the real picture will emerge and the verdict will change completely.”

To the eternal shame of the State of Israel, this is the first time in the history of the nation that a prime minister has been convicted of a felony and sent to prison. Likewise, former president Moshe Katsav is currently serving time in prison for having raped and sexually assaulted his female employees.

Olmert will appeal the conviction and sentence in the Supreme Court, spokesperson Amir Dan said. His attorney Eli Zohar is expected to file a request for a stay of sentence in the meantime.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-pm-ehud-olmert-sentenced-to-6-years-in-prison/2014/05/13/

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