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Israel's Attorney General Turns Weizman Probe Over to Police

January 14, 2000|From Times Wire Services

JERUSALEM — Israel's attorney general said Thursday that he was advising the police to probe allegations that President Ezer Weizman acted illegally in accepting large sums of money from a friend.

Atty. Gen. Elyakim Rubinstein said he was turning the inquiry over to police officials because his office "does not have the tools" to check bank records and other aspects of the case. But he emphasized that no conclusions should be drawn from the move.

"This is not a criminal investigation against the president," Rubinstein said.

Weizman has been accused of acting improperly by accepting $450,000 from a French businessman friend while he was a lawmaker and minister from 1988 until he became president in 1993.

He has been under pressure to step down but has rejected those calls, saying he did nothing wrong.

Weizman's top aide, Arieh Shumer, told Channel One television that Weizman "welcomed all steps to get to the truth."

Rubinstein denied reports that a deal was in the works to let Weizman step down in exchange for calling off the inquiry.

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