Police recommend former bar association head stand trial over sex scandal

Police recommend former bar association head stand trial over sex scandal

Efi Nave suspected of helping an attorney become a judge, while also having an affair with her

Attorney Efi Nave in the Lod Magistrate's Court in Lod, on April 28, 2019. (Flash90)
Attorney Efi Nave in the Lod Magistrate's Court in Lod, on April 28, 2019. (Flash90)

Police said Sunday that they had sufficient evidence that a top lawyer committed crimes in helping to advance the career of an attorney with whom he was having an affair, assisting her to be appointed as a judge, in a sex scandal case that has rocked the judiciary system.

In a statement, police also said that they had sufficient evidence against the judge of obstructing justice and destroying evidence in the case.

Police said there was evidence that the former head of the Bar Association, Efi Nave, acted on behalf of Eti Craif, who later became a judge at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, despite a conflict of interest, due to his relationship with her.

Nave, who resigned after his arrest at the beginning of the year, was one of the nine members of the powerful Judicial Appointments Committee that decides on placement and promotions for judges in Israel’s three-tiered judicial system. The position gave him outsize influence in helping lawyers advance in their careers — a role police suspect he exploited for sex.

Nave is suspected of acting “within his role and public position as the head of the Israel Bar Association to advance the interests of others with whom he was also engaged in a relationship, in what constituted a conflict of interest,” police said.

During the investigation into Nave, evidence came to light that Craif committed offenses amounting to obstruction of justice and destroying evidence, after a probe was launched into her relationship with Nave, the statement said.

There is a gag order on some of the details of what has been dubbed Case 1454 by the police’s Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit .

Magistrate Eti Craif, whose name was released for publication by the Supreme Court. (Israel Courts web site)

Nave, who was arrested in January, is also suspected of acting on behalf of another attorney and a legal specialist from the private sector, both of whom he was having affairs with, police said. The names of the other two women are banned from publication under the gag order.

The case will be handed over to the State Prosecution in the coming days.

In a statement, attorneys on behalf of Nave said that state prosecutors will find that the accusations against Nave are “baseless.”

An attorney on behalf of Craif said in a statement, “The judge absolutely denies committing any offenses, and is confident” that authorities will clear her name.

Police said an investigation into an invasion of privacy surrounding evidence obtained by reporters from Nave’s telephone as well as other computer material has also been completed and will be transferred to the state prosecution.

Nave in February filed a civil lawsuit against Army Radio and a number of its journalists who obtained his cellphone and extracted possibly incriminating messages from the device relating to the alleged sex scandal.

During the course of the investigation other members of the Judicial Appointments Committee, including former justice minister Ayelet Shaked, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, former Supreme Court president Miriam Naor and Labor Court Judge Micha Spitzer testified to Lahav 433 investigators about the process of appointing judges during their tenure.

Nave has also been indicted on suspicion that he smuggled a female acquaintance out of the country for a trip abroad, and then tried to slip her back unregistered through border control.

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