Attorney General Weinstein Meets With Sara Netanyahu's Lawyer

Weinstein says they met three weeks ago on another matter, and Yaakov Weinroth raised the case of irregularities in the running of the prime minister’s homes.

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Sara Netanyahu and her lawyers arrive at court, October 29, 2015.
Sara Netanyahu and her lawyers arrive at court, October 29, 2015.Credit: Emil Salman

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein issued a clarification on Tuesday, in which he said he had met with Sara Netanyahu's lawyer Yaakov Weinroth three weeks ago.

The two spoke about a "personal matter" concerning Weinroth himself, said Weinstein.

At the end of the meeting, Weinroth brought up the case involving the prime minister's wife with regard to irregularities in the running of the prime minister’s households in Jerusalem and Caesarea, the Justice Ministry statement said.

Weinroth presented "various claims about the investigation, and the attorney general responded saying he had yet to consider the matters in depth," the attorney general, whose assistant was present at the meeting at his request. Minutes were kept of the discussion and these were then provided to the relevant officials in the State Prosecutor's Office who are handling the case involving Sara Netanyahu.

Weinstein said Weintroth had written to him and asked to meet concerning Netanyahu's case, as had been reported in the media, but the attorney general responded saying: "We do not see a reason for the requested meeting, and if [Weinroth] is interested he may turn to the attorney general in writing."

"This is not a 'written hearing,' and no investigative materials were given to Weinroth," said Weinstein. It was just a request from a defense attorney, similar to many others the attorney general receives about various investigations, he said.

On Monday, it was reported that Weinstein is considering allowing police's request to question Sara Netanyahu under caution, and Weinroth had asked to meet with him about the case – but Weinstein had refused. Sources involved in the matter said Weinroth wanted to persuade Weinstein that the case should be closed.

The probe started in July, based on the state comptroller’s report concerning the Netanyahu households; its findings were turned over for criminal investigation by the police national fraud squad. Two months later, the attorney general summoned the director-general for operations in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ezra Saidoff, for questioning under caution. Saidoff was questioned for 10 hours about an electrician he had hired to work in the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem and their home in Caesarea, despite the fact that the electrician was a Likud activist and that Saidoff had been specifically told not to hire him.

In an affidavit to the attorney general and the police, Saidoff denied the allegations and said he had simply been trying to save money on household expenses. After the attorney general examined Saidoff’s affidavits and the police investigation, he decided to order the criminal probe and question those involved.

Other suspicions under investigation that were not included in the Comptroller's report include information provided by Meni Naftali, a former chief caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, who is suing the Netanyahus and the state for a million shekels ($249,000) in damages over Sara Netanyahu’s allegedly offensive treatment of him.

While the Sara Netanyahu case is now waiting for Weinstein, it is not clear if he will take any action on it before his term ends at the end of January, and whether he will leave the decision to his successor. 

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