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Former district attorney arrested in major bribery case

Ruth David is suspected of obstructing investigation of Ronel Fisher, who allegedly traded confidential info for cash

Former TA district attorney Ruth David arrives at the Magistrate's Court in Jerusalem on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, after being arrested in connection with the investigation against lawyer Ronel Fisher (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former TA district attorney Ruth David arrives at the Magistrate's Court in Jerusalem on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, after being arrested in connection with the investigation against lawyer Ronel Fisher (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A former Tel Aviv district attorney was arrested Tuesday, as an escalating corruption scandal entered the heart of Israel’s legal establishment.

Ruth David was arrested over allegations that she obstructed the investigation of prominent lawyer Ronel Fisher, who is suspected of bribery.

David was remanded on Wednesday and will remain in custody for at least three more days.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department suspects that David, now a senior partner in Fisher’s private law firm, attempted to tamper with testimonies and leak sensitive information connected to the investigation against him.

Fisher was arrested in July for allegedly selling information to criminal suspects regarding their cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and transferring money to police officers in exchange for the termination of his defendants’ investigations.

His investigation has led to a flood of arrests, among them the former publisher of Hebrew-language daily Maariv, Ofer Nimrodi.

David is also suspected of committing violations during her service in the Justice Ministry. During her eight years as district attorney, she was involved in some of the past decade’s highest-profile criminal cases, including the trial of former finance minister Avraham Hirschson, who was eventually convicted of stealing close to NIS 2 million.

Ronel Fisher seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's court on July 7, 2014, (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ronel Fisher seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court on July 7, 2014, (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Speaking to reporters, her attorney, Yair Golan, denied the allegations, saying she was cooperating with the investigators fully. He added that she was not being questioned regarding her connections to Fisher during her time as district attorney.

“Throughout her entire life, she was a symbol of the rule of law, so I ask everyone to please wait,” he said.

Police have also arrested three lawyers and a senior health system official, who allegedly prescribed a fictitious prescription to a police officer involved in the case.

The unnamed public hospital doctor allegedly offered the prescription to Eran Malka, a retired top officer in the national fraud unit, who was arrested for his suspected role in the case, leading to his hospitalization on grounds of mental breakdown.

Following his commitment, police were prohibited from questioning him for over four hours a day, causing the case to be dragged out substantially.

Fisher was apprehended in a sting operation after he was handed a suitcase containing NIS 150,000 (about $43,875) by Ashdod Port union leader Alon Hassan, who was under investigation for his alleged role in a port corruption ring, and who was collaborating with police during the time of the sting operation. All of the bills had been marked by police.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

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