Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger will meet in the coming days with police investigators regarding his links to Bat Yam Mayor Shlomi Lahiani, the first time ever a sitting justice will be questioned in connection to a criminal case.
Lahiani is currently being investigated on suspicion of bribery and other charges.
Danziger, who is to be questioned regarding the period when he worked as a lawyer for the Bat Yam municipality, is not being questioned under warning, but rather as a preliminary step before a decision is made on whether he is to be regarded as a suspect.
Danziger reportedly conferred recently with prominent attorney Ram Caspi, ahead of his meeting with investigators.
The courts administration took the unusual step yesterday of releasing a statement that Danziger would release a statement "after many months in which the justice has not been permitted to discuss his connections to Mr. Lahiani before he became a justice, both as a friend for more than 20 years and as his attorney."
Danziger will be meeting with investigators from the national economic crimes unit, which is examining suspicions against Lahiani as well as other senior officials in the Bat Yam municipality.
The meeting was made possible after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein took the unprecedented step of allowing the police to question a sitting Supreme Court justice.
The police had asked Weinstein for permission to question Danziger several months ago with regard to the period Danziger and his law office were employed by the municipality, before he became a Supreme Court justice.
The Bat Yam municipality reportedly paid Danziger some NIS 823,000 for legal services.
The police are also looking into connections between the Bat Yam municipality and other lawyers.
The police want to obtain more details regarding the circumstances of Danziger's employment as Lahiani's private attorney for more than 20 years, as well as Danziger's representation of the Bat Yam municipality on various matters.
In 2008, the Channel 2 investigative journalism program "Fact" revealed that Danziger and his ex-law partner Dori Klagsbald were involved in a transaction having to do with a parcel of farmland in western Netanya. As part of the deal, they requested compensation from the Israel Lands Administration having to do with the the rezoning of the land from agricultural to residential use.
It turned out that Lahiani had purchased the land in 1995 on behalf of Danziger, Klagsbald and a real estate development company which he partially owned.
Lahiani conducted protracted negotiations with the Israel Lands Administration in an effort to be recognized as eligible for compensation, but the agency rejected his request as not meeting the necessary criteria.
In 2007, Danziger, Klagsbald and investors in the real estate company sued the Israel Lands Administration for compensation. They claimed that Lahiani had bought the land as a trustee for them and therefore they should get compensation. However, the ILA said they were ineligible because they had not revealed the trusteeship before 2007.
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