Netanyahu's Former Chief of Staff Ari Harow in Talks to Become State Witness

Harow's name has come up in two cases involving the prime minister, and is himself under investigation for bribery

Ari Harow being investigated last year in Lod
Ilan Assayag

Law enforcement authorities are getting close to reaching a state’s witness agreement with Ari Harow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff. 

Harow, who was very close to the prime minister, has been linked to two pending investigations against the prime minister. 

In the investigation known as Case 2000, Harow was allegedly the person who recorded conversations between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in which the two purportedly discussed giving the prime minister favorable newspaper coverage in return for Netanyahu taking steps to hobble Yedioth’s rival, the Israel Hayom daily. 

Harow was also a key figure in a case that the police did not pursue. He headed the American Friends of Likud, which allegedly paid the salary of Odelia Karmon, an adviser to Netanyahu when the prime minister, who heads the Likud party, was opposition leader. 

Harow also worked closely with Netanyahu during the period when the prime minister had close ties to businessman Arnon Milchan, a relationship that is at the heart of Case 1000, which involves lavish gifts that Netanyahu and his family allegedly received.  

Harow himself is the target of an ongoing investigation for alleged improprieties in the sale of his consulting firm. Last February the police recommended prosecuting him for the purportedly fictitious sale of a consulting firm that he owned, 3H Global, a sale that he was required to carry out when he was appointed Netanyahu’s chief of staff in 2013. The investigation revealed that, although Harow had reported that he had sold the company for $3 million, not all the money was transferred to him, raising suspicions that he was still managing it while serving as chief of staff and that he might also have taken advantage of his position to advance the business. 

Harow is suspected of bribery, fraud, breach of trust, aggravated fraud and money laundering. According to a report on the Walla news website, new information has been received from law authorities in the United States that corroborate the suspicions against him. 

During the investigation of Harow, police confiscated his cell phone, and found recordings documenting the Netanyahu-Mozes conversations that are the basis of the Case 2000 probe. In the Karmon case, the attorney general did not believe that investigators would be able to produce evidence justifying a criminal indictment for alleged offenses that are subject in any event to a 10-year statute of limitations. Senior law enforcement officials believed, however, that the investigation should have been pursued, especially in light of recordings of Karmon that were obtained by police in which she described the sequence of events after she received her salary.

“Bibi became insanely hysterical, all of a sudden. I don’t know who whispered to him, after all, you can light him up like a flame ... and then he said to me: Odelia, give back the money.” In the recording, Karmon also mentioned Harow: “He plied Netanyahu with many things. Flight tickets or whenever Netanyahu was in a bind. But not in exchange for anything. He was honest and sweet. He was simply helpless.”