Will Ex-president's Associates Be Tried Next?

Close friend Uri Yoeli reportedly sought to buy the silence of Katsav's vicitims on his behalf.

Now that Moshe Katsav has been sentenced, the attorney general must decide whether Uri Yoeli - a close friend of Katsav's accused of trying to buy the silence of the former president's victims on his behalf - will be next.

It is unclear when, or whether, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will open a criminal investigation against Yoeli or others who acted on Katsav's behalf.

While Yoeli was cited in the December ruling handing down Katsav's conviction, that is not considered sufficient for an indictment.

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Katsav yesterday to seven years in prison for rape and other offenses.

In one instance, the judges said, Yoeli put together an agreement meant to assure the quiet departure of one of the complainants, A. from the Tourism Ministry, after Katsav fired her.

The judges found that the agreement, which was submitted in court, shows that Katsav feared that A. would reveal secrets if she were not appeased.

One of the decisions Weinstein will have to make is whether mediating such an agreement can be considered a criminal offense. He will also have to determine whether the statute of limitations on the alleged actions has expired and if there is sufficient public interest in prosecuting Yoeli to make an indictment worthwhile.

The Justice Ministry gave no indication yesterday of what steps it would take, saying only: "The matter will be resolved as we make preparations for the continued handling of the case."