Ex-Israel president says women framed him

July 17, 2011 at 11:29 AM

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 17 (UPI) -- Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, convicted in December of rape, staunchly denies the charges in testimony released by a court Sunday.

Katsav, who was sentenced in March to seven years in prison, states he was never in a car with his accuser, a woman identified as A, when she says he assaulted her, records released by the Tel Aviv District Court show.

"It never was and never existed," he said of the attack charged by a former employee when he was tourism minister. Asked if he ever hugged the woman, he said, "Maybe a few times, but with no sexual significance and no intention of wrongdoing."

Katsav also said A's assertion that he made her write him love letters was copied from another accuser, a presidential staffer called O, and the women were conspiring to frame him, Haaretz reported.

Last week, police began looking into suspicions that Katsav or his brother Lior hired private investigators to discredit the accusers as they prepared an appeal, a law enforcement source told The Jerusalem Post.

The National Fraud Unit has questioned Katsav, his brother and his son, and arrested two private investigators, who were freed Sunday.

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