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In recording, ex-cabinet chief admits shredding docs before Netanyahu departed as PM

But former premier’s Likud party says Tzachi Braverman was referring to personal documents and copies of originals that were already digitally archived

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, January 29, 2017. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, January 29, 2017. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary Tzachi Braverman admitted to shredding documents at the Prime Minister’s Office shortly before his boss left office to be succeeded by Naftali Bennett in June.

In a recording published Wednesday by the Haaretz daily, Braverman can be heard saying: “Before I left, I even took some documents that were in the safe, gave them to my deputy and told her to shred them now. She shredded them, and that was it.”

At the time, workers in the Prime Minister’s Office told Channel 12 that there was a significant amount of document shredding in the hours before the transfer of power from Netanyahu to Bennett. Haaretz reported that Netanyahu himself instructed his staff to shred documents.

Braverman denied any wrongdoing.

“It did not happen. Every action I took in the course of my duties was done lawfully, and any other insinuation is false and sinful to the truth,” he told the newspaper.

Netanyahu’s Likud party also denied the report, saying Braverman was referring to his own personal documents and copies of government documents, not the original copies, which are digitally archived.

But a cabinet decision on civil service regulations requires all documents, including copies and private ones, to be kept in the PMO in order to be archived.

The Movement for Quality Government had petitioned the State Attorney’s Office to demand an inquiry into the last-minute shredding. On Monday, the latter issued a response, saying it needed three more months to finish a review into the matter before drawing a conclusion.

During testimony at Netanyahu’s corruption trial last week, the ex-premier’s former media adviser said his boss regularly shredded documents during his tenure.

“Netanyahu shreds everything… If there was a shopping list, he would shred that too,” Nir Hefetz told the court.

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