Top lawyer suspected of soliciting bribes for Israeli police
Ronel Fisher is suspected of asking Ashdod port union boss for money to pay police, promising in return to not indict him in several affairs.
Ronel Fischer. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum.
Ashdod Port Photo by Ilan Assayag
Ronel Fisher, a well-known Israeli lawyer, is at the heart of a new scandal involving police figures and the Ashdod port union chief. Fisher is suspected of asking Ashdod port workers’ union head Alon Hassan for money, which would be paid to certain police officials to keep Hassan from being prosecuted in connection to a number of ongoing investigations.
Fisher allegedly told Hassan of impending investigations against Hassan — an obstruction of justice, if proved — and then asked police officials for information about plans to arrest Hassan. Officials in the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers, which put Fisher under surveillance, suspect that police officials provided the lawyer with the information he requested.
Hassan, in cooperation with the investigation department, gave $150,000 to Fisher, in exchange for the lawyer’s promise to see to it that the investigations against Hassan were halted.
Fisher was arrested immediately. He did not allow police to search his bag or his car, claiming attorney-client privilege. Fisher said the cash from Hassan was payment for services rendered. Officials in the investigation department say they have recordings of conversations between Hassan and Fisher during which the lawyer said, “If this gets out, we’ll both go to jail.”
Hassan and figures in his circle went to the investigation department because they feared that either Fisher or certain police officials planned to frame him. Representatives of the police investigation department say that while no police suspects have been arrested, that could change.
Fisher allegedly called Hassan to inform him of his imminent arrest. Fisher invited Hassan to a meeting in Herzliya, but canceled it. After his arrested, Fisher told Hassan he wanted to meet so that he could inform his family, and prepare them for the impending arrest. Investigation department officials also said that six months before the investigation of Hassan was made public, Fisher informed the union chief about the probe and told Hassan that for $1 million he could halt it.
The undercover investigation of Fisher began as news of the Ashdod port scandal broke and was made public, albeit without Fisher’s name being mentioned, after his arrest on Thursday.
“Fisher doesn’t cut corners for himself or others when it comes to handling clients, so it is clear why his successes and his proven abilities would invite various elements to try to hurt him,” Ronel Fisher, Blum-David and Co. said in a statement, adding that the law firm has never received aid from law enforcement officials in legal proceedings.
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