The spy and minister's daughter
By SIMON BENSON
February 18, 2005
AN Israeli diplomat thrown out of Australia because he was suspected of being a spy befriended Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's daughter and was due to spend Christmas dinner with the Ruddocks just three days before he was expelled.
Former Israeli consul to Australia Amir Laty had a reputation for pursuing women in high places.
One of those was Mr Ruddock's 26-year-old daughter Caitlin, an accountancy lecturer at NSW University.
A junior diplomat at the Israeli Embassy in Canberra since October 2003, Mr Laty is now claiming it is this relationship that is behind him being sent home.
On December 23, then-Israeli ambassador Gabby Levy was told to recall Mr Laty to Israel or he would be declared persona non-grata and deported.
It is believed Mr Laty left for Israel on December 28.
Government sources denied the two were intimately involved, saying rather that they were "acquaintances".
It has never revealed why Mr Laty was expelled although it is understood ASIO believed he had been involved in spying.
Ms Ruddock yesterday told The Daily Telegraph she could not comment on her relationship with Mr Laty.
It is understood Ms Ruddock and Mr Laty met six years ago while studying in Beijing.
They became reacquainted when Mr Laty was posted to Canberra in 2003.
A spokeswoman for Mr Ruddock said that the family had a policy of never commenting on the "personal life or acquaintances" of their two daughters.
However, Mr Laty has revealed details of his relationship with Ms Ruddock in an Israeli newspaper, including his invitation to Christmas lunch.
According to the Sydney-based Australian Jewish News, Mr Laty told Israeli Foreign Ministry officials his relationship with Ms Ruddock was connected to his expulsion.
The revelations about the friendship were confirmed by senior Government sources, but the reasons for his departure are still secret.
Mr Laty first came to the attention of Australian intelligence organisations when he visited the two arrested Mossad agents in New Zealand last year as part of his job as a diplomat.