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PM Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz 311 (R).(Photo by: REUTERS)
Lindenstrauss warns ministers against funding for flights
By JPOST.COM STAFF
03/28/2011
State Comptroller says he will decide whether to investigate reports concerning Netanyahu's unethical financing of flights from foreign donors.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Monday warned ministers not to receive funding from foreign donors for flights abroad in the wake of a pending investigation into Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's unethical financing of foreign flights.

Israeli media reports on Monday claimed that Lindenstrauss' intention to investigate claims against Netanyahu's unethical financing of foreign flights is forbidden because of a conflict of interest.

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Lindenstrauss to probe complaints that PM was unethical

Last week it was announced that Lindenstrauss would carry out an initial examination into a number of complaints received claiming that Netanyahu behaved unethically and utilized a carefully crafted network of wealthy associates to finance private flights. The initial report regarding Netanyahu's conduct was broadcast on "Makor," a Channel 10 investigative reporting program earlier last week.

In the near future Lindenstrauss will have to decide whether there is enough comprehensive evidence within the leaked publications to open an investigation, Army Radio reported. 

According to the "Makor" report, Netanyahu 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.

Netanyahu worked diligently after his first term as prime minister ended in 1999 to build a cohort of wealthy associates, which often subsidized completely the Netanyahu family's outings abroad, the report said.

"There's a problem the the state comptroller's authority - he will find it difficult to carry out an independent review," said Raviv Drucker, who exposed the affair during an interview with Army Radio. "Lindenstrauss can ask for documentation from the Knesset, but can not raid the travel agencies of the foreign donors and obtain all the documents, for example," he explained.  "Only the police can do such a thing, and is the only body that can carry out an effective investigation - if it is decided that the issue deserves an investigation, of course," he stressed.
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