A serious legal matter came to the fore in Israel on Sunday evening, which the legal system is taking very seriously. A series of text messages were discovered to have been exchanged between Judge Ronit Pozanansky-Katz and Attorney Eran Shacham Shavit who was investigating the case that Pozanansky-Katz was judging –
‘Case 4000’ involving Bezeq officials and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State’s Attorney Shai Nitzan announced on Sunday that neither of the two people involved will continue to serve in the current position regarding the case, and that the case will be turned over to another investigator and another judge.
In the WhatsApp chat, aired Sunday on Channel 10 news, Israel Securities Authority investigator Eran Shacham-Shavit tells Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz that authorities intend to release some of the suspects in the probe, while holding others for a few more days.
“Try and act surprised,” he writes.
“I’m practicing my surprised face,” she responds.
In another chat, Shacham-Shavit writes that, on the matter of suspects “Stella (Handler, Bezeq CEO) and Iris (Elovitch), we will ask for a few more days tomorrow.”
“They will request three days, but you can definitely, definitely give two days,” he says.
“You’re continuing to reveal everything to me and I will have to act really, really surprised,” the judge responds.
Pozanansky-Katz formally requested to be relieved of sitting in judgement over any case regarding the investigation known as file 4,000, which is yet another case of suspected corruption against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
In retrospect of the development, Magisterial Court Judge in Tel Aviv Avihai Doron, announced that all of the elements regarding the 4,000 file will be heard by Judge Alla’a Musarwa, who has succeeded at untangling some complications in parallel cases. In the meantime, attorneys representing numerous people who have been detained with regards to the case have asked that their clients be released.
A statement issued by the Attorney General’s office and the State’s Prosecutor’s office read: “The incident described goes against the core values that members of the judicial process including the judiciary and the state’s prosecutors and investigators are expected to uphold. This is an extraordinary incident and one that saddens us all. We will be conducting a disciplinary investigation with regards to the behavior of the investigator that will be undertaken by the internal investigations department.”
Following the incident, Shacham Shavit notified his office that he will be taking extended leave until the investigation into his actions concludes.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked spoke with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut regarding the incident. They agreed to both approach the Commissioner in charge of complaints against justices with a request to investigate the matter thoroughly. They also agreed that they will both take action in accordance with the commissioner’s findings.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)