State Comptroller set to begin 'Bibi-tours' hearings

Lindenstrauss says "it is improper that a public figure's travel should be paid by donors;" hearings on PM's travels to begin on Friday.

311_Micha Lindenstrauss (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
311_Micha Lindenstrauss
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said discussions on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s funded trips abroad will begin Friday, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.
“On a basic level, it is improper that a public figure’s travel should be paid by donors,” Lindenstrauss said at a State Control Committee meeting.
RELATED:PM sues Channel 10, Maariv over ‘Bibi-tours’ reportsKadima files complaints over PM’s ‘ethical flaws’Lindenstrauss said that a committee will be convened to discuss all aspects of the relevant events.
“There was a problem getting testimony from part of the people mentioned” in the Channel 10 report on Netanyahu “because they are not under the comptroller’s jurisdiction. If police is the solution, then the attorney-general should be notified,” Lindenstrauss said.
Netanyahu filed two NIS 1 million libel suits against Channel 10 and Ma’ariv on Tuesday, accusing them of reporting false information about him in their coverage of what has come to be known as the “Bibi-Tours” affair.
Last week, Channel 10 investigative reporter Raviv Drucker reported, on his show Hamakor, on a series of flights that Netanyahu took with his wife Sara in the late 1990s and early 2000s, flights allegedly paid for by wealthy associates.
According to the report, Netanyahu allegedly utilized a carefully crafted network of wealthy associates to finance private flights, luxury hotel suites, first-class restaurants, and trips abroad for him and his family – benefits that the show characterized as ethical infractions.
In the wake of the publication, Channel 10 news and other media outlets continued reporting on alleged wrongdoings by Netanyahu.
Lindenstrauss spoke at the Knesset State Comptroller Committee in a debate over the creation of a new oversight body for the State Attorney’s office.
The Justice Ministry has confirmed that a team of experts from within the ministry has been put to work on determining the need for the new function, which has been described as a type of prosecution ombudsman and the authorities that this position will carry.
A decision on the matter is expected to be reached and reported to the committee in July. If established the new position would among other things investigate leaks from within the State Attorney’s Office Ron Friedman contributed to this report.