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Palestinian president fires aide amid sex scandal

A report cleared Rafiq Husseini of corruption and sexual misconduct charges.
A report cleared Rafiq Husseini of corruption and sexual misconduct charges.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafiq Husseini accused of using power of his office to extract sex from female job seeker
  • Report clears Husseini of corruption and sexual misconduct charges
  • But Hussein fired at recommendation of committee created to look into allegations
  • Controversy began after Israel's Channel 10 aired grainy surveillance footage of Husseini
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Jerusalem (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has fired his chief of staff despite an inquiry into a sex scandal that cleared the second-in-command of wrongdoing.

Rafiq Husseini was accused of using the power of his office to extract sex from a female job seeker.

The scandal erupted in February after a video was made public allegedly showing Husseini undressing in a bedroom and calling for a woman to join him in bed.

The president fired Husseini on Tuesday at the recommendation of a committee that Abbas created to look into the allegations.

The report clears Husseini of corruption and sexual misconduct charges. But because its content was not made public, it was not immediately clear why the committee recommended that the aide be let go.

"I was exonerated from the main accusations of abusing my power in office for personal gain and sexual favors," Husseini said Wednesday. "But at the same time, the committee found that I committed personal error outside the realm of my work."

The controversy began after Israel's Channel 10 aired the grainy surveillance footage of Husseini.

The footage shot in 2008 was provided to Channel 10 by Fahmi Shabaneh, a former agent in the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Department.

Shabaneh said he released the tape to the media to expose ethical and financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority.

Shabaneh said he had brought evidence of both sexual and financial wrongdoing to Abbas before going public, but that he was ignored.

He said received permission from his superior officer to make the clandestine recording of Husseini after a Palestinian woman approached him complaining that Husseini was trying to "sexually blackmail her."

The tape was made in cooperation with the woman who had brought the allegations, he said.

In a news conference in February, Husseini denied the allegations.

He told reporters that he had been framed by a gang "working for the interest of Israeli intelligence" and said the tape was "dubbed."

On Wednesday, Husseini said he accepted the committee's recommendation.

"I am satisfied, and know that I paid a price after all," he said. "I refuse to be blackmailed and I stood up to the black mailers even when that meant that I would lose my job over it."

CNN's Kareem Khadder contributed to this report.