Weinstein likely to assume A-G post in February
The cabinet is expected Sunday to approve the appointment of Yehuda Weinstein as the next attorney general. Weinstein, who will take up his post at the beginning of February, will begin with a two-week overlap with current Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, during which time he will transfer all the pending business in his firm to other attorneys.
Weinstein, 65, is considered one of Israel's outstanding criminal attorneys, specializing in white-collar crime.
After the failure of the attorney general search committee to settle on an agreed candidate among the four finalists that some of the committee supported, Weinstein and Prof. Yedidia Stern were those prefered by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.
Weinstein is reportedly to present a list of all the cases or the individuals from which he will have to recuse himself after having been involved with them on a personal or professional level.
It is believed that Mazuz will be making a decision soon as to whether to indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on graft and other charges, pending a hearing. Assuming Mazuz does not decide to close the case, the next attorney general will have to make the final decision on an indictment. However, it is still unclear whether Weinstein will be able to deal with this case, since he is said to have had an indirect association with the Lieberman affair.
Lieberman is suspected of taking millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen, among them Martin Schlaff and Michael Chernoy.
Without reference to Lieberman, Chernoy is waging a bitter legal battle in Britain and Israel with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. Weinstein is representing Deripaska in a libel suit brought by Chernoy against a group of people including Deripaska.
Weinstein also reportedly has extensive knowledge of open cases he was involved with, or in which he represented a suspect or indicted individual, such as in the Tax Authority case, affairs involving former prime minister Ehud Olmert, a money-laundering affair allegedly involving Bank Hapoalim, a money-laundering affair allegedly involving Arcadi Gaydamak and a bribery affair allegedly involving former judge Dan Cohen. When public officials and their attorneys sit down at a table to present the reasons not to indict them, Weinstein will sit at the head of that table.
In May 2008, Weinstein proposed at an Israel Bar Association conference that after a hearing is held in the normal fashion by the state prosecution for a public official suspected of wrongdoing, a judge or a retired judge make the final decision on whether charges are to be brought. "We may be wasting judicial time, but if one case is closed that should never have been brought, then we have done our job from a judicial point of view," Weinstein said at the time.
Six years ago, Weinstein was also in the running for attorney general; however, he removed his name from the short-list at the last moment. He also presented his candidacy twice for the post of state prosecutor.
Weinstein established his law practice in 1979, after he had served as senior central district deputy prosecutor.