Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset State Control Committee, July 25, 2016.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Israel Police has summoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s staff for questioning in connection with its ongoing investigation into Netanyahu’s campaign finances, according to a Channel 10 report Thursday night.
Staffers summoned by the Lahav 433 special investigations unit, which is conducting the probe, were questioned on the manner in which gifts from abroad were transferred to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.
According to the report, staff members told Lahav investigators that gifts were received from abroad and transferred to the residence against protocol. Some of these gifts were reportedly of little value, like flowers and souvenirs, but others were valuable.
Channel 10 sources expressed surprised at Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s perceived hesitation to question Netanyahu.
According to one official, any decision in the case would require Netanyahu to state his version of events. “There is no escaping questioning the prime minister,” the source reportedly stated.
The issue of Netanyahu receiving gifts from abroad has been repeatedly raised in the police probe. Ari Harow, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff who was questioned in July, was reportedly asked about foreign gifts received by the prime minister.
Last week a number of Netanyahu’s close associates were called in for questioning by Lahav 433, according to Channel 10. These associates reportedly gave evidence on the alleged use of funds of the American Friends of Likud, a notfor- profit American educational organization that connects Likud supporters in the US to the party. Ari Harow once directed the American Friends of Likud, as did another former Netanyahu aide who has been questioned.