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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Israel police question president
Israeli President Moshe Katsav
Mr Katsav's office said he would co-operate with the investigation
Israeli police have questioned President Moshe Katsav over allegations of sexual harassment and corruption.

Two former female employees of Mr Katsav have said he forced them to have sexual relations with him.

One of the women also reportedly said he illegally granted pardons. Police searched Mr Katsav's home earlier this week. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Several Israeli leaders, already receiving criticism over the war in Lebanon, face charges of misconduct.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is under investigation over his purchase of a property in Jerusalem.

Justice Minister Haim Ramon was indicted on Wednesday over claims he forcibly kissed a female soldier. He stepped down on Sunday over the claims, insisting he was innocent and would clear his name in court.

Last week, another senior member of Mr Olmert's Kadima Party, Tzachi Hanegbi, was indicted on charges of fraud, bribery and perjury. He insisted he could prove his innocence.

The head of the Israeli armed forces, General Dan Halutz, has also been under pressure for selling his entire share portfolio hours before the outbreak of fighting in Lebanon.

Home raided

Police conducting the inquiry into the allegations against the Israeli president seized computers and documents during a raid on his Jerusalem home this week, officials said.

Mr Katsav was questioned for five hours on Wednesday and police said he would be questioned again on Thursday.

"The president has never committed any violation," said Mr Katsav's lawyer Zion Amir. "He did not harass any man or woman."

If charged, President Katsav will be immune from prosecution.

However, he can be impeached by parliament if it feels he acted inappropriately.

Mr Katsav is a veteran member of the right-wing Likud party, serving as transport minister in the late 1980s and in 1996 as minister of tourism and deputy prime minister.

He has held the office of president, a largely ceremonial role, since 2000.




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18 Aug 06 |  Middle East
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22 Aug 06 |  Middle East

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