Comptroller to publish report on the Netanyahu's 'Bottlegate affair' later this month

PMO explains discrepancy on funds spent on alcohol.

By
February 2, 2015 21:41
2 minute read.
Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu

Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu leave for the US.. (photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)

 
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State Comptroller Joseph Shapira announced that he will publish his final report on "Bottlegate" regarding the Netanyahus on Feburary 17.

"Bottle Gate" refers to allegations that Sara Netanyahu and possibly others connected to her activities, may have improperly turned in recycled bottles for receipt of cash, though the bottles were bought with state funds.

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The announcement comes after intense media speculation over the issue, though little has been made clear from the comptroller or Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein about what implications the allegations might have.

On a related note, the accountant in the Prime Minister's Office released a statement Sunday night saying that some NIS 88,964 was spent from 2009 – 2010 in the PMO for wine and beverages.

This was double the amount the PMO's accountant first said was spent on wine and beverage on Friday, following a television report the night before on the story. That first figure, according to the PMO, was based on an initial inquiry into the expenditures.

The PMO said that a more detailed check on Sunday, however, including going over the invoices one by one revealed that the discrepancy was that one supplier used two different VAT account numbers, and that the initial check only saw one of those accounts.

According to the statement, the wine purchases accounted for “less than half” of the money the PMO spent on beverages.

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Earlier Sunday, Shapira's and Weinstein's offices appeared to trade statements of confusion about which office was supposed to be acting first on Bottlegate.

Also, Sunday, Shapira called on Weinstein to investigate the leaking of portions of his draft report on the so-called “Bibi tours” affair, which have been attributed by the media to Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker.

Shapira called the leaking of drafts of his report “an improper phenomenon and a violation of the law.”

In September, Weinstein closed his review of the “Bibi tours” scandal, determining there was little chance of it leading to an indictment, but the comptroller’s report had still not been published.

The affair involved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s flights allegedly being funded by wealthy associates, from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

“At the end of the day, in light of the balance of the evidence collected, it could not be found that there was a basis to open a full criminal investigation” of the prime minister, the attorney-general previously said.

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