A new comptroller committee, viewed by observers as more friendly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than the previous panel, has agreed to hear his request for up to NIS 10 million of legal fees in his public corruption trial to be funded by tycoon Spencer Partridge.Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman authorized Netanyahu in September 2019 to receive a NIS 2 million loan from Partridge. Prior to that, a comptroller committee denied Netanyahu’s request to have his legal defense funded by tycoons on three separate occasions. In response to the current decision, the Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel said it would petition the High Court of Justice because the committee was in Netanyahu’s pocket and could not retract previous rulings against him.The most recent rejection of Netanyahu’s request for help from tycoons came in June 2019.At the time, Netanyahu lashed out at the committee, saying it was denying him the same rights as previous ministers who received donations to pay for their defense in public corruption cases against them. The committee had politicized the process and usurped or manufactured new authorities to block his rights, which it did not legally have, he said.In response, the committee said Netanyahu was unique because he is a serving prime minister. All prior cases he cited to prove he was being mistreated were related to former ministers who resigned their posts once in legal trouble, the committee said. Once they resigned their posts, they no longer had ongoing or current conflicts of interest to receive donations, it said.In other words, the committee implied that Netanyahu can get his legal bills paid for if he resigns. But he must pay if he wants to stay in office, suggesting that he will be able to help the tycoons in return for their money and allegedly has in the past.Part of the dispute between Netanyahu and the previous committee was his refusal to fully reveal his financial situation and ability to self-fund his defense.By July 2019, Englman, viewed as close to Netanyahu, had replaced former comptroller Joseph Shapira. Shortly after that, Englman replaced the comptroller committee.Significant media coverage has shown connections between new committee members and the Likud, with some new members even resigning but most weathering the criticism. Englman has rejected any notion that he or the committee favor Netanyahu.The new committee said it was not bound by the previous three rulings of the same committee because it is an administrative panel and not a court.Further, the new committee said circumstances have substantially changed since June 2019, because in November 2019, the indictment against Netanyahu was filed, and he must now imminently pay to defend himself at trial in a case that has more than 1,000 binders of evidence.In an earlier exchange about his finances, after Netanyahu accused the previous committee of holding his legal defense hostage, the committee responded by publicizing investment links he had to tycoon and cousin Natan Milikovsky, which have raised the specter of a new potential criminal probe.The debate between Netanyahu and the committee follows the committee’s previous two rejections of Netanyahu’s request.The committee also previously told the prime minister to return $300,000 to donors, which he had received without the committee’s approval.Netanyahu’s trial on multiple charges of corruption is set to begin March 17 in the Jerusalem District Court.