Israeli PM Netanyahu under investigation for fraud and bribery

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the subject of two criminal investigations that involve allegations of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, police acknowledged Friday.

Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and confidant Ari Harow has agreed to testify against him in the investigations.

In exchange, Harow will serve six months of community service and pay a $ 193,000 fine for a separate corruption case, police said Friday.

The investigations were first revealed Thursday in a court filing by police seeking to block the media from reporting on negotiations for Harow’s testimony.

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Netanyahu was interviewed several times at his home, and his associates were interviewed as well, according to reports.

Those associates include Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Arnon Milchan, the producer of “Fight Club,” Bloomberg reported.

One investigation involves suspicions that the longtime prime minister received lavish gifts from businessmen such as Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

Investigators believed he received cigars and expensive champagne from the tycoons, Bloomberg reported.

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Netanyahu dismissed the investigations in a Facebook video on Friday.

Netanyahu dismissed the investigations in a Facebook video on Friday.

(POOL New/REUTERS)

The second probe involves allegations that Netanyahu worked with Israeli newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes to back legislation that’d weaken his competition in exchange for more favorable coverage of the prime minister.

Netanyahu said in a video posted to Facebook on Friday he doesn’t pay attention to “background noise” and “will keep on working.”

The 67-year-old politician is Israel’s second-longest serving prime minister, having held the post from 1996 to 1999 and again taking office in 2009.

He’s regularly denied corruption allegations, and Friday’s revelation is the first official confirmation he’s been under investigation.

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Harow, his former confidant, had been on investigator’s radar for the last two years. Police were looking into the sale of his consulting firm while he was Netanyahu’s chief of staff.

With News Wire Services

Tags:
israel
benjamin netanyahu
fraud

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