Barring Last-minute Surprise, Netanyahu Will Soon Be Questioned as Criminal Suspect

soource: haaretz.com

Law enforcers now focusing on additional information about Netanyahu. Fraud squad to probe suspicions of corruption, unlawfully receiving gifts and favors from wealthy patrons.

It seems likely that Benjamin Netanyahu will be summoned for questioning under caution — that is, as someone who might be charged with a crime — according to senior sources involved in the ongoing police probe into alleged acts of corruption by the prime minister. Haaretz has learned that, barring any unexpected turn of events, investigators from the Israel Police national fraud squad will soon visit the Prime Minister’s Residence to take testimony from Netanyahu.

In June, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced his decision to launch an inquiry “in the wake of information that has been received concerning matters regarding the prime minister, and which was presented to the attorney general by the police intelligence and investigations division.”

The probe was initiated in response to information culled from two intelligence sources concerning alleged acts of corruption by Netanyahu, mainly during the period from 2006 to 2009, when he was leader of the opposition.

During the police inquiry, some of that information was refuted, including claims of an alleged second campaign headquarters funded by tycoons, allegedly falsified results in the party leadership primary, and more. Other claims which were investigated included the existence of a mysterious money pipeline through which millionaires from around the world allegedly funded the Netanyahu family’s needs. According to the intelligence sources, the key figure in this was Ari Harow, the prime minister’s former chief of staff.

Since late last year, Harow has been under investigation by police on suspicion of falsifying the $3 million sale of a consulting firm, supposedly sold when he assumed his position at the Prime Minister’s Office. In light of the strength of the evidence, Mendelblit and senior officials in the prosecutor’s office and the police investigations division hoped Harow would provide incriminating information against his former boss, and that he would eventually sign an agreement with them to turn state’s witness. As of now, that has yet to happen. However, another suspicion that was investigated, about Netanyahu and his family receiving gifts and favors from tycoons, has been partially substantiated.

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