Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sex claim investigated as Palestinian aide suspended

By Paul Wood
BBC News, Jerusalem

Rafiq al-Husseini
Rafiq al-Husseini said he was the victim of a plot

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has suspended his chief of staff while an inquiry is held into allegations that he solicited sex from a job applicant.

Last week an Israeli TV station showed footage of Rafiq al-Husseini undressing in a hotel room with a woman who was not his wife and inviting her to bed.

The tape was made by a former Palestinian intelligence officer who says he wanted to expose corruption.

Mr Husseini denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a plot.

The former intelligence officer said he had set up the hidden cameras in the hotel room after being approached by the woman who claimed she was being asked for sex in exchange for securing a job with the Palestinian Authority.

The former official said he wanted to expose a culture of widespread corruption and abuse of power with the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian attorney general has denounced these allegations and has threatened to sue Israeli Channel 10 for, as he put it, spreading lies.

The claims relating to Mr Husseini will now be investigated by a panel of senior officials.

Mr Hussein denies any wrongdoing, saying he was the victim of a plot by Israelis and Palestinian collaborators to discredit him and the Palestinian president.

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