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23:36 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Israel's ex-president charged with rape, harassment

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The Israeli Attorney General's Office on Thursday charged the country's former president Moshe Katsav with several counts of rape and sexual harassment.
TEL AVIV, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Israeli Attorney General's Office on Thursday charged the country's former president Moshe Katsav with several counts of rape and sexual harassment.

Katsav is charged with sexually harassing and twice raping a female subordinate in the Tourism Ministry between 1996 and 1999, as well as with the sexual harassment of two other women working in the president's office.

He has denied the charges and has said that he will prove his innocence in court. If convicted, he could face several years in prison.

The attorney general has also charged Katsav with obstructing investigations and pressuring witnesses. Some 56 people have already given statements as part of the investigation.

In June 2007, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz reached an agreement with Katsav's lawyers that the two counts of rape would be removed from the indictment. However, the former president withdrew from the plea bargain in April 2008, forcing the prosecution to charge him.

Katsav stepped down in June 2007 as part of the plea bargain and was replaced by former Prime Minister Shimon Peres.