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Israeli leader may face sex harassment charge

Israeli President Moshe Katzav greets we
Israeli President Moshe Katsav is seen at his home in Jerusalem in this October 9 photo. Yoav Lemmer / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Police were expected to recommend Sunday that charges be filed against Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who has been questioned following sexual harassment allegations and other accusations, a senior investigator said.

The investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media, said there was enough evidence to indict the president on “some of the matters.”

The investigator declined to elaborate, but the months-long investigation has included questioning on allegations of sexual harassment, electronic eavesdropping and granting pardons in exchange for cash. Katsav has denied all wrongdoing.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that police investigators were to meet with state prosecutors Sunday to present their recommendations. The final decision on whether to go to trial is up to Israel’s attorney general.

If indicted, Katsav would likely have to step aside. In Israel, the president holds a largely ceremonial role with little authority, but is considered a unifying force in a fractured society.

Israel Radio and Channel 2 TV said the case against Katsav is based on complaints by five women who allege he made unwanted sexual advances toward them during his tenure as president and before that, as a government minister.

Complaints by five other women are not being pursued because the statute of limitations has run out, the reports said.

The investigation of Katsav began earlier this year after a former employee alleged he forced her to have sex under the threat of dismissal. Police repeatedly questioned Katsav at his official residence and seized personal documents.