Harel Arnon, a lawyer who is defending the state in the High Court of Justice against a challenge to the land expropriation law, could be charged with facilitating the fictitious sale of a company. Any indictment will have to wait, however, until the investigations of the prime minister are completed.
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The reason is that the company at issue was owned by Ari Harow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, who has apparently confessed to arranging the fictitious sale in order to circumvent conflict-of-interest regulations. This would make Arnon, who oversaw the sale, an accessory to this crime.
Harow made his confession as part of turning state’s evidence. In return for a lighter sentence in his own case, he is reportedly providing incriminating information about Netanyahu in both Case 1000 (in which Netanyahu allegedly received gifts from businessman in return for promoting their interests) and Case 2000 (in which Netanyahu allegedly offered to weaken the Israel Hayom newspaper in exchange for more favorable coverage from Yedioth Ahronoth).
But Harow’s plea deal — in which he pleads guilty to fraud and breach of trust and is sentenced to six months’ community service and ordered to pay a fine — cannot be implemented until Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decides whether to indict Netanyahu: Only then will it be clear whether Harow upheld his part of the deal. So until Harow is formally charged and his confession — which implicates Arnon — is given legal force, no charges will be filed against Arnon, who continues to represent the government in the High Court.
Before becoming Netanyahu’s chief of staff in 2014, Harow signed a conflict-of-interest agreement for the Prime Minister’s Office legal adviser, in which he committed to sell his 3H Global consulting firm and abstain from involvement in the company for as long as he remained in the PMO. Harow submitted to the legal adviser a contract showing he had sold the firm to an American couple, Dr. Gerry Platt and his wife, Dr. Vicky Deutsch, for $3 million. Arnon represented both Harow and the Platts in the transaction.
But the police said that while serving as chief of staff, Harow continued to control the firm, to profit from it and to promote its interests. In November 2016, Arnon was called in for questioned as a suspect in Harow’s case. He exercised his right to remain silent. On February 23, police said there was sufficient evidence to prosecute both Harow and Arnon. But on March 9, only two weeks later, an agreement was signed for Arnon to represent the state in the petitions against the land expropriation law, after Mendelblit refused to do so.
In a response, the Justice Ministry said no decision had been made to postpone filing an indictment against Arnon.