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Panel Investigating Bank Scandal to Hold Some Closed Door Sessions

The commission of inquiry into the conduct of Israel’s banks leading up to the collapse of bank shares in October, 1983 will be allowed to hold some of its sessions behind closed doors when dealing with delicate overseas banking matters.

The option of secrecy was extended by the Cabinet Sunday, although the members of the commission have yet to be named by the President of the Supreme Court. The inquiry was approved by the Cabinet a week ago, at the urging of State Comptroller Yitzhak Tunik whose report on the bank shares collapse accused Israel’s leading banks of “reprehensible manipulation.”

The law allows judicial inquiries to hold sessions in secret only to protect State security or sensitive foreign relations matters. A majority of the Cabinet voted Sunday to expand the secrecy option to “prevention of damage in matters of public importance.” Communications Minister Amnon Rubinstein of the Shinui faction raised the only objection to the motion presented by Justice Minister Moshe Nissim. Nissim and his other colleagues feared that the bank inquiry might undermine the standing of Israeli banks doing business overseas by disclosing matters that they think are better left to the discretion of the bankers.

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