The Justice Ministry’s police investigations unit is investigating whether a female police officer was promoted to keep her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against her commander, Maj. Gen. Bruno Stein. Stein is also being investigated over suspicions he took bribes in a wider corruption case centering on high-profile lawyer Ronel Fisher.
The female police officer was summoned Monday to respond to an anonymous source’s allegations a year and a half ago that Stein had sexually harassed her while they were riding in a car. Police sources say the female officer did not come to work for several weeks after the alleged incident. She had been a candidate for promotion, but passed it up and, to the surprise of police colleagues, took a course to upgrade her status and was placed in a more senior position in another police division.
At the time the evidence surfaced, the Justice Ministry also questioned the female officer, but she refused to cooperate and it was decided to close the file. In light of the new suspicions against Stein, she was called in again to see if her promotion was meant to prevent her from filing a complaint against Stein, although Justice Ministry officials said the chances of her providing information to strengthen this suspicion were low.
In other developments, Stein, who has been in police custody in connection with the Fisher case, was released to three days of house arrest Tuesday. And on Monday, with the lifting of a gag order, it was revealed that former police officer Eran Malka has agreed to become a state’s witness in the Fisher case. Malka’s testimony is what led investigators to Stein.
Police investigators suspect Fisher presented Stein to clients as his contact man at Israel Police and as someone who could help them. In exchange, Fisher allegedly funded trips abroad for Stein, who was due to retire. It is also alleged that some meetings involving Stein, Fisher and his clients took place abroad.
Police suspect, for example, that Stein was present at a meeting with Yair Biton, owner of the B. Yair construction firm. The meetings abroad were allegedly an attempt to demonstrate to Fisher’s clients the close relationship he had with Stein.
The state’s witness agreement with Malka provides that he will retain all of the retirement benefits he would normally have coming, but will not be given any assurance of a lighter sentence. Malka is accused of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and other offenses. As a result of the state’s witness agreement, Malka gave detailed testimony that became the basis for a continued investigation, the prosecutor’s office said.