Celebrations at the Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv, March 17, 2015.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
As if life was not difficult enough for Ari Harow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff – during a day of questioning by police for alleged financial improprieties by Netanyahu and Harow, the Likud secretariat made decisions on Thursday that could force him to pay a large debt to the party.
The secretariat, which runs the ruling party’s finances, convened in Ramat Gan’s Kfar Hamaccabiah Hotel to decide how to handle a debt of some NIS 8 million from the Likud’s successful election campaign last year.
Members of the secretariat blamed most of the debt on decisions made by then campaign manager and current Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber, who is close to Netanyahu.
They said Filber spent in excess of what the secretariat had approved.
“The secretariat is permitted to obligate anyone who made unauthorized decisions to repay the party from his personal finances,” the secretariat decided unanimously, at the request of its chairman, Transportation Minister Israel Katz.
While it was Filber’s name and not Harow’s that was raised constantly at the meeting, Harow also played a central role in the campaign, and was paid a large sum that was not approved by the secretariat. A source close to Katz said in closed conversations that what was decided about Filber applies to Harow as well.
The secretariat decided that, from now on, it must approve in advance every new campaign and every appointment of advisers or strategists. Lawsuits obligating Filber – and presumably Harow – to return money to the party were put on hold for 30 days, pending a decision by the legal adviser of the secretariat, attorney Ilan Bombach.
At Thursday’s meeting, the secretariat also decided that in the future it could fire anyone who made unauthorized decisions.
The meeting was attended by a dozen Likud MKs, including two ministers.
MK David Amsalem attacked Katz at the meeting, saying that he convenes the secretariat only when he has an ax to grind against Netanyahu.