Malka Leifer’s lawyers say they may probe home life of accusers in child sex offences court case


Lawyers for Malka Leifer, the former ultra-orthodox school principal accused of dozens of child sex offences, have said the “home life” of her alleged victims may be probed, as they seek to test the evidence against her.

Ms Leifer today fronted the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court facing 74 charges of child sex abuse, including multiple counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child.

The allegations have been levelled against the 54-year-old by three sisters — Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper — who attended the Adass Israel School in Elsternwick while Ms Leifer was headmistress.

Ms Leifer has long maintained her innocence.

Today the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard that 10 witnesses will be called to test the evidence against Ms Leifer.

The administrative hearing was only Ms Leifer’s second appearance since she was extradited from Israel earlier this year.

She appeared by videolink from the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, which is Victoria’s maximum-security women’s prison, wearing a blue jumper, a white shirt and a white head covering.

Ms Leifer was supported by her brother, who watched proceedings from Israel, where it was early in the morning.

She spoke sparingly, only acknowledging that she could hear the proceedings.

Her lawyer, Tony Hargreaves, told the court that any cross-examination would be done with “as much care as possible”.

“Clearly the relationship that the three complainants had with their parents, in particular their mother, it would seem is the genesis for the relationship between the accused and the complainants,” Mr Hargreaves told the court.

“We may wish to ask the witnesses about … what was happening at home with the complainants,” he said.

“…It will be limited and it may be that counsel chooses not to pursue that avenue.”

Ms Leifer will face a five-day hearing in September.

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‘ICAC could look into this’: Anti-corruption watchdog open to data probe


The state’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption “would consider” an inquiry into allegations of website data misuse, after the Marshall Government today suggested the anti-corruption body could “look into” claims of privacy breaches.

It comes amid allegations visitors to government websites have been spammed with Liberal Party propaganda.

Parliament today shot down an Opposition move for a parliamentary inquiry into reports visitors to sites including the Government’s COVID information hub had been redirected via external services hosted by the Liberal Party, raising questions about whether data was “harvested” – a claim Premier Steven Marshall has rejected.

Labor wanted to establish a committee to investigate the claims – but the move failed after crossbenchers Sam Duluk and Fraser Ellis – both of whom have suspended their Liberal memberships while they face separate criminal charges – voted with the Government.

Speaking against the motion, leader of Government business Dan van Holst Pellekaan dismissed the move as “an issue that the Opposition is trying to confect”, but insisted: “There is nothing to hide on this side of the chamber.”

He then raised eyebrows by suggesting various other investigative agencies were better placed to examine the claims.

“SAPOL could look into this, the Auditor-General could look into this, a privacy committee could look into this, the Ombudsman could look into this, and – perhaps most importantly – if there is actually any suggestion of corruption, ICAC could look into this,” he said.

“There are various ways that this alleged misconduct could be considered quite appropriately without going through this contingent motion, which is really just an attempt by the opposition to try to draw attention to what they allege to be true.”

Van Holst Pellekaan went on to speculate that “perhaps they are already doing it, perhaps they are already looking into these things if they choose to”.

InDaily sought a response from the ICAC, Ann Vanstone, whose office said: “The Commissioner would consider an inquiry if she reasonably suspected that the conduct could amount to corruption.”

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson said: “It is true that South Australia has an independent integrity framework capable of dealing with matters such as this.”

“The Commissioner would consider an inquiry if she reasonably suspected that the conduct could amount to corruption, which is criminal conduct for the purpose of the ICAC Act, or serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration,” they said.

“If the Commissioner considered the conduct did not meet this threshold, it is unlikely that she would conduct an investigation.”

The Government’s rejection of the parliamentary inquiry came just a day after the Liberals successfully moved for an inquiry of their own into “claims of bullying and harassment within the State Labor Party”.

That followed claims by former state MP for Elder Annabel Digance that she was told not to speak out against the use of a flyer in the 2014 election campaign that was widely denounced as racist.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the Liberals – again backed by Duluk, while Ellis abstained – “have now stepped in to ensure these claims are investigated and the people responsible are held to account”.

The inquiry is expected to target Labor state secretary Reggie Martin, who on the weekend apologised for the flyer but insisted he never saw any racist connotations when he signed off on it.

Labor frontbencher Tom Koutsantonis told parliament ahead of the vote on Labor’s failed data breach inquiry that “the Government told us that people were not being redirected to [software company] NationBuilder and [domain] ‘stateliberalleader’ [but] that is not true – they were.”

“We know that through that redirection cookies are installed on browsers – that is what NationBuilder does,” he claimed.

“People have gone to state government sites and have had their browsers implanted with cookies from NationBuilder on behalf of the Liberal Party.”

Koutsantonis said that “if data has been stolen and harvested people’s careers will end” – but added if there was nothing to hide, there was nothing to lose by backing the parliamentary inquiry.

The Government has emphatically denied any claims of data harvesting.

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Matt Gaetz’s Father Wore Wire for FBI Probe into Extortion Claims


Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) father says he wore a wire for an FBI investigation into DOJ extortion claims on more than one occasion in the course of a probe regarding a potential extortion plot both father and son believe was orchestrated by former federal prosecutor David McGee.

“The FBI asked me to try and get that information for Matt and an indication we would transfer money to Mr. David McGee,” Don Gaetz, Matt’s father, said Tuesday without additional information during an interview.

According to Politico, “Don Gaetz said in the interview he wore a wire during a meeting earlier this month with McGee and said he was set to meet Wednesday with Stephen Alford, a local developer who he said is also part of the alleged extortion scheme.”

“During that meeting, Don Gaetz said, he was again set to wear a wire and try to get Alford to talk about payments he allegedly was to make to McGee, but the meeting fell apart when news broke that his son was being investigated by the Justice Department. Alford did not respond to text messages seeking comment,” the report said.

Breitbart News reported Tuesday Matt Gaetz booked an interview on FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to responded to allegations “the Justice Department investigated him over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.” Matt Gaetz has denied the allegations, claiming it was due to an extortion scheme, whose ringleader Gaetz named as Pensacola, Florida lawyer David McGee, a former U.S. Attorney.

Matt Gaetz believes the scheme was leaked to The New York Times to “quell” the investigation.

“What was supposed to happen was the transfer of this money that would have implicated the former colleague of these current DOJ officials,” he said. “But that’s obviously not going to happen tomorrow because The New York Times story was leaked in order to quell that investigative effort.”

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Apollo investment chief Leon Black leaves early following Epstein probe



Leon Black unexpectedly steps down, saying inquiries into links with Jeffrey Epstein took a toll on his health.

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UEFA open probe after Slavia Prague player accused of racially abusing Glen Kamara


UEFA have opened an investigation into claims Rangers’ Glen Kamara was subjected to racist abuse in the defeat against Slavia Prague.

Accusation were made against Ondrej Kudela who allegedly called the midfielder a “f***ing monkey”.

Rangers had two men sent-off in a heated evening in Glasgow where tempers flared.

And UEFA has now confirmed that they will investigate the alleged racism.

A statement read: “In accordance with the Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, an Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector will conduct an investigation regarding the incidents that occurred during the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg match between Rangers FC and SK Slavia Praha on 18 March 2021.



UEFA have opened an investigation

“Further information regarding this investigation will be made available in due course.”

Steven Gerrard was quick to state is backing for Kamara and that has been echoed by Rangers’ managing director Stewart Robinson

The club chief has claimed they will not accept any defence of the alleged abuse.

“Racism is unacceptable in any form and in any setting,” he said.

“The racist abuse suffered by Glen Kamara will not be tolerated by Rangers. As a club, we stand resolutely behind Glen as we support him and his team-mates.

“Several of our players have subsequently received racist, threatening and sickening abuse online.



Tempers flared at Ibrox
Tempers flared at Ibrox

“This is abhorrent and once again highlights the responsibility social media outlets have in eradicating abuse from faceless cowards.

“We refuse to acknowledge any attempt to defend, deflect or deny the abuse Glen Kamara experienced last night.”

Slavia’s Kudela, the man accused, defending himself after the game and clarified his comments with Czech outlet  Sport,

He said: “I told him ‘You’re a f***ing guy’. 

“It was said in emotions after two red cards and a series of brutal interventions by an opponent, but I completely reject racism.”



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ACCC urged to push on with Holden probe



The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been urged to press on with its investigation into Holden’s conduct in the lead-up to the closure of the car brand in Australia.

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Three arrested following terror probe in Melbourne’s north



Police have arrested three people following counter-terrorism raids conducted in Melbourne’s north.

A 19 year old male and a 20 year old male, both from Epping, along with a 16 year old male from Pascoe Vale were arrested.

The arrests came as part of a joint counter-terrorism operation in Melbourne.

It is being alleged the 19 year old male attempted to engage in a terrorist act.

The 16 year old male has been released pending further enquiries, while the 20 year old man remains in custody.

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Police probe suspicious Melbourne house fire



Witnesses have been urged to come forward as police investigate a suspicious house fire in Melbourne’s outer-east last night.

Emergency services attended the blaze at a Boronia house on Scoresby Road just after 11.30pm, following multiple calls to triple-zero.

Callers said they could see thick smoke and embers rising from the home.


Firefighters arrived within three minutes of receiving the first call to find the single-storey brick home engulfed in flames.
No one was inside the house at the time.
“Both Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and CFA firefighters wearing breathing apparatus conducted an external attack on one side and an internal attack on the other,” a FRV spokesperson said.
The fire was declared under control within 25 minutes.

Police said the home sustained “significant damage” during the fire.

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Swiss probe of late Saudi king’s $US100m gift could threaten wealth ties


Qualifying for the multibillion-dollar contract had already begun in 2008, the year of the Saudi payment. The two separate tenders for the Phase 1 civil engineering works and the Phase 2 rail contract were then finalised in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The consortium that won the Phase 2 contract in 2011 said in a statement it denies making any agreement or payment related to the award of the project.

Middle Eastern investors had 432 billion Swiss francs stored in Switzerland at the end of 2019.Credit:Bloomberg

In international cases, Swiss prosecutors often prefer to establish whether a comparable offence exists both in Switzerland and the country in question before proceeding with a fresh line of inquiry.

According to the Swiss institute’s December response, seen by Bloomberg, misconduct in public office as defined in the Swiss Criminal Code also exists in Saudi Arabia and would, in theory, be punishable under Saudi law with a sentence of as much as 10 years and a fine of 20,000 riyals ($6877). But the written opinion didn’t address the specifics of the case Bertossa is investigating and so didn’t discuss the prospect of immunity for a monarch – living or dead.

The author of the opinion at the institute, a research centre attached to the Swiss Federal Department of Justice, declined to comment.

The money at the centre of the inquiry was paid into the Panama-registered Lucum Foundation. The foundation, of which Juan Carlos was the sole beneficiary, was established to receive the Saudi donation and was dissolved around 2012. Juan Carlos left Spain for the United Arab Emirates last year, according to the BBC.

His lawyer, Javier Sanchez-Junco, didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Swiss bank which received the payment and has been investigated by Bertossa denies any wrongdoing.

Bertossa’s inquiries come as Saudi Arabia’s current heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has declared fighting corruption a key priority. In 2017, the prince turned Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel into a temporary jail during a controversial anti-corruption campaign that targeted Saudi’s elite. Most of the detainees were released after agreeing to hand over billions of dollars in private settlements. Dissidents say the prince uses corruption allegations selectively to undermine potential opponents and critics, a charge officials deny.

King Abdullah reigned for nearly a decade until his death in 2015 at age 90, when he was replaced by King Salman, the crown prince’s father.

Given that King Abdullah is no longer alive, Bertossa’s next steps in his investigation are unclear. As Geneva’s top prosecutor, however, he typically juggles other financial crimes and corruption cases at the same time.

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In January, Bertossa secured a surprise conviction of Israel mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz for bribery, in what was heralded as a landmark decision for the prosecution of commodities-related corruption. Steinmetz denies any wrongdoing and is appealing the verdict.

Bloomberg

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Regulators launch probe over Alcoa spill


Inspectors from the Department of Mines have spent the day at Alcoa’s Wagerup Alumina Refinery as part of an investigation into a spill of alkaline processing liquid at the plant earlier this week.

A spokesperson for Alcoa of Australia confirmed staff at the plant became aware of the spill about 10.30pm on Tuesday evening, which is believed to have come from a processing liquid tank with a capacity of seven million litres.

The spill is understood to have been contained to the operating footprint of the refinery, with the majority of the material captured by the bund underneath the tank and on the bitumen. 

It is not clear how many litres were released.

No employees were in the immediate vicinity at the time of the incident and Alcoa has since conducted a clean-up of the site.

Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety Dangerous Goods and Petroleum Safety director Steve Emery told Business News that Alcoa had advised the department of the incident the following morning.

After receiving additional information on Thursday, Mr Emery said the department decided that it was appropriate for inspectors to travel to the site to better understand the nature, extent, and cause of the incident, as well as any safety and compliance implications.

The investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.

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