Posts Tagged ‘breach of trust’

Catalan Mayors Exercise Right to Remain Silent in Referendum Questioning

September 19, 2017

BARCELONA — The first of hundreds of Catalan mayors summoned to answer questions on why they have backed a banned Oct. 1 referendum on independence from Spain appeared before the state prosecutor on Tuesday amid cheers and chants from supporters.

The first three mayors to declare exercised their right to remain silent, the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) said.

Years of separatist feeling in the industrial northeastern region will come to a head in less than two weeks as the fiercely pro-independence regional government calls a referendum on splitting from Spain.

Madrid has declared the referendum illegal and the Constitutional Court has suspended the vote that was approved by the regional government earlier this month.

So far, 745 of 948 municipal leaders have said they will provide venues for the referendum.

“Voting is not a crime,” said Marc Solsona, mayor of the town of Mollerussa, one of nearly 750 mayors facing charges of civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds, as he left the state prosecutor’s office in Barcelona.

“I’m just the mayor and I have to serve my people. I am committed to the people being able to vote on Oct. 1 in accordance with the law passed by the Catalan parliament and what happens to me is not important,” he said.

Solsona smiled, kissed and gripped hands with dozens of clapping supporters gathered outside the state prosecutor’s office as he entered to chants of ‘You are not alone’

“We consider ourselves privileged to have a mayor who represents the townspeople above any other interests – political or financial,” said 63-year-old pensioner Angel Tena, who had traveled to Barcelona to support the mayor.

Separately, police continued their search for ballot boxes, voting papers and campaign leaflets on Wednesday, raiding the offices of Spain’s biggest private delivery company Unipost in the Catalan city of Terrassa, Spanish media reported.

Neither the police nor the Interior Ministry could confirm the raid, but footage showed dozens of people gathered outside the company’s offices chanting ‘Out with the occupying forces,’ handing out voting papers and laying carnations on police cars.

Unipost confirmed the raid without giving further details.

Although polls show less than half of Catalonia’s 5.5 million voters want self-rule, most in the wealthy northeastern region want the chance to vote on the issue.

(Additional reporting by Sonya Dowsett and Inmaculada Sanz in Madrid; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Angus Berwick and Janet Lawrence)


Spain police launch graft probe in Catalan president’s fiefdom

September 19, 2017


© AFP | Tuesday’s police raid comes amid mounting tensions as Catalan leaders press ahead with preparations for an independence referendum on October 1

GIRONA (SPAIN) (AFP) – Spanish police carried out searches on Tuesday across Girona, a fiefdom of Catalonia’s pro-separatist president Carles Puigdemont, as part of probe into suspected graft at a local water company, police said.The operation comes amid mounting tensions as Catalan leaders press ahead with preparations for an independence referendum on October 1 despite Madrid’s ban and a court ruling that deems it illegal.

Spain’s Guardia Civil police force said it was carrying out searches at 15 places in Girona, a city some 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Barcelona where Puigdemont served as mayor between 2011 and 2016.

The searches are part of a probe into “suspected illegal activities which could involve the crimes of fraud and breach of trust regarding the awarding of a water supply contract,” police said in a statement.

The operations centres on the activities of Girona water supply company Salt i Sarria, it added.

The probe concerns the activities of the water company when Puigdemont was mayor of Girona, according to conservative daily newspaper La Razon which splashed the investigation on its front page.

Meanwhile police were also searching for referendum material at private courier company in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat near Barcelona, a police spokesman said.

Prosecutors have demanded that police seize all materials which could be used to stage the referendum such as ballots, ballot boxes and posters and fliers promoting the vote.

They have also opened a criminal probe into the over 700 Catalan mayors who have offered to help stage the referendum.

About 40 mayors have been formally summoned to be questioned as part of this investigation, three of them on Tuesday.

Polls show Catalonia’s roughly 7.5 million residents are deeply divided on independence.

A survey commissioned by the regional government in July showed 49.4 percent of Catalans were against independence while 41.1 percent were in favour.

Netanyahu Aide Says Israeli Leader Calm in Face of Charges — PM’s camp calls accusations a “witch hunt” — Opposition smells blood and wants to force Netanyahu out

August 6, 2017

JERUSALEM — A close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is relaxed and confident amid reports of the slew of corruptions charges against him.

Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev says Sunday she has full confidence in the prime minister and denounced what she called a media campaign to topple him.

Netanyahu himself did not address the latest developments at his weekly Cabinet meeting.

Israeli police recently announced that they suspect Netanyahu of being involved in bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a pair of cases. Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and longtime confidante has agreed to turn state witness and testify against his former mentor. This has raised speculation that Netanyahu could be indicted shortly.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and calls the accusations a witch hunt.



With Indictment in Question, Likud Comes Swinging for Netanyahu

–Barak compares Netanyahu to Mafia boss
–Is this the end for Netanyahu?

The prime minister’s corruption probes may be coming to a breaking point.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 21, 2017.. (photo credit:EMIL SALMAN/POOL)

Likud ministers and members of Knesset took to the media Sunday morning in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a weekend of dramatic developments in the police case that has him suspected of corruption and other criminal activities. Their main message to the press and the public is that the prime minister has done nothing wrong and that calls for his ousting are politically motivated and an unlawful attempt to depose the government by non-democratic means.

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Netanyahu is currently being investigated in three separate cases, nicknamed cases 1000, 2000, and 3000 by the press. He faces possible charges for accepting gifts from a wealthy friend in exchange for political favors, colluding with Yediot Aharonot’s publisher for favorable coverage, and for involvement in a corruption case surrounding the purchase of German submarines.

Netanyahu’s situation was complicated last week by the fact that his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, signed a state’s witness deal. By doing so, Harow is protecting himself – evading possible jail time to instead complete 6 months of community service and pay a 700,000 NIS fine – but also suggesting Netanyahu’s guilt.

Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud MK and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of national security and foreign affairs, shared his doubts about the indictment process. In an interview on army radio, he said that the court’s reaching of a decision that would theoretically remove Netanyahu from office could take three or four years, meaning that it could come after the next elections take place in 2019.

Gil Hoffman @Gil_Hoffman
There wont be an indictment of @netanyahu b4 the next elex bc legal system in #Israel works very slowly, @Tzachi_Hanegbi tells @GLZRadio

Yisrael Katz, Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, as well as a member of the security cabinet, put out a statement in support of the prime minister.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be allowed to fulfill his duties in accordance with the mandate he received from the public, in a state of law and democratic rule, not to dismiss a prime minister based on media headlines, opposition demonstrations or partial investigative procedures. I trust the law enforcement system will carry out its work with the professionalism and responsibility required to enable the State of Israel to continue to deal adequately with the complex challenges it faces.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) on Saturday also stated that Netanyahu could stay in office even if he’s indicted.

“From the legal perspective, if there’s an indictment, the prime minister doesn’t have to resign,” Shaked explained on Channel 2’s Meet the Press. “There is the side of values, and that is a question that coalition parties will have to ask themselves if we reach that day, but we aren’t there. There’s still a long process.”

Shaked called for “letting the government and the prime minister do their jobs.”

Politicians from the opposition, meanwhile, take it as a given that Netanyahu should leave his post, some saying such a move has been long overdue. Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay told Army Radio Sunday that he believes the public has tired of leaders tainted by corruption and wrongdoing, but that he had few expectations from Netanyahu’s allies to stand up for the rule of law since it doesn’t serve them politically at the moment.

The Israeli public also had their say with two protests taking place near Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva for the 37th consecutive Saturday night. One of the protests, attended by some 2,000 people, called for Mandelblit to indict the prime minister, while the other was a pro-Netanyahu counter-demonstration organized by coalition chairman David Bitan and fellow Likud lawmakers, which was attended by some 150 people.

Lahav Harkov and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.


Israeli Police: PM Suspected of Breach of Trust, Bribes

August 3, 2017

JERUSALEM — An Israeli police document says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of crimes involving breach of trust and bribes in two corruption cases.

The document released to media outlets Thursday night says the cases involving Netanyahu deal with suspicion of “bribes” and “breach of trust.” Police put a gag order on reporting any additional details.

Police have been questioning Netanyahu for months over corruption allegations for allegedly receiving gifts from high-powered Hollywood and business figures and separately over secret talks with the publisher of Yediot Ahronot, a major Israeli newspaper, for positive coverage in exchange for diminishing the impact of a free pro-Netanyahu daily in 2014.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media opposed to his political views.

1.6 Million Patients’ Medical Records Shared With Google by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS)

May 4, 2016
“There are existing and strong processes for doing safe medical research using data; but this project seems to have followed none of them.”
By Siobhan Fenton
The Independent.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS)  has given the medical records of 1.6 million patients to Google, it has been revealed.

The records have been shared with Google as part of a data-sharing agreement between the technology giant and the NHS, revealed by The New Scientist.

The records relate to patients of three London hospitals which form the Royal Free Trust; Barnet, Chase Farm and Royal Free Hospital collected over the course of the last five years. An estimated 1.6 million patients attend the hospitals every year.


Google says it intends to use the data as part of its group DeepMind to develop a health app which can help recognise kidney injury. However, campaigners have expressed concerns that the data-share is a breach of trust and not in patients’ interest.

Phil Booth, coordinator of medConfidential which campaigns for confidentiality in healthcare, told The Independent that the data-share was “not in the spirit of the NHS.” He said: “There are existing and strong processes for doing safe medical research using data; but this project seems to have followed none of them. To ensure patient confidence, properly run projects require transparency on what is being done, and why. That is to protect patients from the confusion about what this data will be used for.” Google has denied this, stating that it is following strict HSCIC information governance rules.

Google has been criticised in recent times for perceived privacy breaches due to the amount of data which it holds on individuals. In 2014, 38 US states sued Google when it was alleged that the cars with which the company takes Google Street View photographs had also been collecting data from computers inside the homes they drove past.

The company has also been accused of sifting through information on messages sent by users through its system to sell the byproducts to advertisers and not making it sufficiently clear to customers that it is able to read wifi passwords.

Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman told The Independent: “We are working with clinicians at the Royal Free to understand how technology can best help clinicians recognise patient deterioration- in this case acute kidney injury (AKI). We have, and will always, hold ourselves to the highest possible standards of patient data protection. This data will only ever be used for the purposes of improving healthcare and will never be linked with Google accounts or products.”

A spokesperson for The Royal Free London told The Independent: “Absolutely no patient-identifiable data is shared with Deep-Mind. All information sent to and processed by this app is encrypted and is only decrypted once returned to the clinician’s device. Patients can opt out of any data-sharing system by contacting the Trust’s data protection officer.”

Ann Romney slams ‘breach of trust’ between Americans, government

May 30, 2013
By KEVIN  ROBILLARD | 5/30/13 9:15 AM EDT

Ann Romney on Thursday said there had been a “breach of trust” between  Americans and their government after the trio of controversies that have hit the  White House in recent weeks.

“I think it’s hard with what the country is going through right now,” Romney  said on CBS’ “This Morning.” “There’s been a breach of trust that we, as all  Americans, feel with our government.”

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Romney, the wife of failed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, hadn’t been directly  asked about the president or the scandals before making her comments.

“If we look at the three scandals that are going on right now, and in  particular, I saw the polling numbers with how people are upset with the IRS  scandal,” she said when asked to explain her comment. “We have to have trust in  our government. We have to believe that they’re doing right for us. When we feel  like they’re breaking our trust, it’s deeply troubling.”

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