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Health Official, Brother Arrested for Leaking Maxwell Autopsy Photos

March 30, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A veteran Israeli Health Ministry official and his brother have been arrested on charges of having provided a French magazine with confidential videotape of Robert Maxwell’s autopsy in Israel.

Naim Batzrit, 65, of Rishon le-Zion and his brother, Sasson, were remanded by a Petach Tikva magistrate’s court last Thursday for allegedly stealing and selling copies of a report of the autopsy performed on the late British media magnate before his burial in Jerusalem in November.

Naim Batzrit is a former police officer employed for years as chief photographer at the Health Ministry’s Pathology Institute in Tel Aviv.

He is charged with copying the record of the post-mortem, which was sold to the French magazine Paris Match. Sasson Batzrit was charged with acting as an intermediary with the magazine.

Maxwell, a Czechoslovak-born Holocaust survivor who became a billionaire in Britain, died mysteriously on Nov. 5 1991 when he jumped, fell or was pushed from his yacht cruising in the Canary Islands.

An autopsy performed by the local Spanish authorities concluded that the 68-year-old Maxwell suffered a heart attack before his nude body was fished from the sea.

A second autopsy was conducted in Israel at the request of the Maxwell family, apparently for life insurance purposes.

According to the video pictures taken by Batzrit and the findings of the second autopsy, Maxwell was struck on the head before he fell from his yacht.

That was reported in Paris Match. The Health Ministry, disturbed by the leak, asked the police to investigate.

They reportedly questioned Batzrit many times. He and his brother denied in court that they had any connection with the theft. But the magistrate decided the police presented sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant the remand in custody, pending completion of the investigation.

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