Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein may decide on a criminal investigation of recently unveiled scandals related to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle as early as Thursday after returning to Israel from overseas.
Channel 10 News reported on Wednesday that the state attorney will recommend to Weinstein on Thursday a criminal investigation be opened into aspects of last week’s State Comptroller’s Report on issues related to the Prime Minister’s Residence.
That investigation many include an interrogation of Prime Minister’s Residence Deputy Director-General Ezra Seidoff, which could lead to questioning Sara Netanyahu or even the prime minister.
The Justice Ministry would neither confirm nor deny Channel 10’s report, but many media outlets had predicted at the start of the week that Weinstein would make a decision upon his return on Thursday from an overseas trip. The report itself did not indicate which of the several potential scandals would lead to a criminal investigation.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu hired renowned criminal lawyer Jacob Weinroth to represent him and persuade Weinstein not to open a criminal probe. Weinroth sent Weinstein a letter in which he downplayed the three issues that State Comptroller Joseph Shapira suggested could lead to criminal penalties in his report last week.
Weinroth wrote that Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, was entitled to money received from recycling bottles; that the state is legally required to pay for the prime minister’s lawn furniture; and that there was no evidence proving Netanyahu was aware that a former Likud central committee member was employed as an electrician at his home in Caesarea on weekends and on Yom Kippur.
Police received material evidence on these and other issues from Meni Natfali, the disgruntled former manager of the Prime Minister’s Residence, during a 12-hour session of questioning at the headquarters of the police LAHAV 433 unit in Lod last Thursday night, according to Naftali’s attorney, Ofer Almog.
Almog, told The Jerusalem Post
Saturday night that his client handed over a flash drive and other documents and receipts that backed up his testimony about the conduct of the Netanyahu family during his time working at the residence.
He also repeated his assertion that Naftali is not linked to any political party or operatives. Channel 1 reported that Naftali gave police information about Sara Netanyahu insisting on cleaning supplies and memorial candles purchased for the official residence in Jerusalem being transferred to the Netanyahus’ private home in Caesarea.
Naftali is expected to receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.