(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israel Police is investigating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, according to a court document that was revealed accidentally.
The details were revealed after they were included in a document submitted on Thursday by the police to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court. The court then imposed a gag order on the details of Case 1000 (the “Gifts Affair”) and Case 2000 (the “Israel Hayom Affair”), and on any details of the pending deal with Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Ari Harow. The gag order will be in place until September 17.
Netanyahu’s office issued a response to the reports, saying it utterly rejected the claims.
“The witch-hunt to topple the government is in full swing but it will fail because of this simple reason: There will be nothing because there was nothing.”
Earlier this week, media reports said Harow was close to signing a state’s witness deal and in return for easing charges against Harow.
The Los Angeles-born Harow has been a trusted political and personal adviser to Netanyahu, serving as his bureau chief from 2008 to 2010 and his chief of staff from 2014 to 2015.
According to a senior police authority, Harow’s future testimony will have a significant impact in strengthening the suspicion against Netanyahu in cases 1000 and 2000, Channel 10 reported. That source also confirmed that a deal with Harow is expected to be reached soon. It was not the police that suggested making Harow a state’s witness, but his lawyer who offered it months ago, according to the report.
Harow is suspected of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering over allegations he advanced his business interests while employed at the Prime Minister’s Office.
On Thursday morning, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit addressed the contacts between Harow and the police. “Progress is being made,” he said, adding that his office was “working in cooperation with the police on this matter.”
These developments come after a gag order was imposed on the testimony of state’s witness Miki Ganor in Case 3000 (the “Submarine Affair”), which is being investigated by Lahav 433.
The gag order applies to “every single detail from the investigation that has to do with the testimony of the state’s witness or from the events that happened prior to his signing of the deal. It also applies to every future detail from his testimony.”
Former prime minister Ehud Barak released a video Thursday saying the head of government cannot serve after an indictment has been issued.
“How can he run a security cabinet meeting, between standing before a judge and meeting with his lawyers and then deciding, God forbid, to go to war?” he asked.
“We together must wake up our ministers to take action as soon as possible, because the lives of all of us depend on it.”
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.