Israel Police has concluded its investigation of Deputy Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman, of the United Torah Judaism party, on suspicion that he abused his status and authority in the Ministry of Health to bring improper influence to bear on decision making by subordinate professional staff at the ministry. Among other things, the police investigated the allegation that Litzman tried to influence a psychiatric assessment of a pedophilia suspect.
The Jerusalem District Attorney's Office will now have to decide whether Litzman should be indicted.
The investigation of Litzman ("Case 1452") was carried out by the Lahav 433 national fraud squad, and covered several events. The first was Litzman's alleged attempt to influence improperly assessments of several psychiatrists employed by the Ministry of Health and appointed by the Jerusalem District Court to decide whether a pedophilia suspect whose extradition is sought by the Australian authorities after she fled to Israel is fit to stand trial.
In the investigation, Litzman denied any connection to the case, and claimed he had not dealt with the matter in any way. The suspect in whose case Litzman is suspected of having intervened is sought by the law enforcement agencies in Australia in connection with allegations that she committed a large number of sexual offences against under-age girls when she was principal of a school in Melbourne.
The second instance of alleged improper interference by Litzman in the work of Ministry of Health professional staff involves a food business owned by an associate. Litzman is suspected of having intervened to prevent the closure of the business following serious hygiene deficiencies found at it that led to several people who consumed its products falling ill.
Litzman is also suspected of improper intervention in the work of the Ministry of Health psychological health center and of other ministries on behalf of prisoners, some of them convicted sex offenders, seeking to be released after serving two-thirds of their sentences or to be released on parole.
The stance of the police is that there is an adequate evidentiary basis for charging Litzman with fraud, breach of trust, and suborning of witnesses in the extradition case, and charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in the case of the food business. In the prisoner release case, some of the events are prescribed under the Statute of Limitations, and in the remainder insufficient evidence was found to support an indictment.
Presumption of innocence: The case against Yaakov Litzman is in the initial stages. He denies the actions attributed to him, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 6, 2019
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