Netanyahu's Former Chief of Staff Turned State's Evidence in Corruption Cases Charged With Fraud

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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Netanyahu and Ari Harow, 2009.
Netanyahu and Ari Harow, 2009.Credit: Daniel Bar-On
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Ari Harow, Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff turned state's evidence in two corruption cases involving the prime minister, was charged on Monday with fraud and breach of trust over profits he pocketed from a company he kept owning despite being ordered to sell his part in it before starting his tenure.

The prosecution and defense seek to delay the start on Harow’s trial until he testifies in Netanyahu’s cases.

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As part of the state witness agreement signed with Harrow, it was agreed that Harrow would confess be convicted of the offense attributed to him and that the parties will jointly plead guilty to a sentence of six months of community service and a fine of 700,000 shekels ($193,000).

Harow turned state's evidence in Netanyahu's trial in the case regarding Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes, allegedly over legislative concessions to Yedioth in return for favorable news coverage of Netanyahu. Harow said the prime minister had asked him to seriously look into how to bring such a deal to fruition.

Harel Arnon, Harrow's attorney, said that his client "is relieved that an investigation that began about five years ago is nearing completion. Now, he believes he will succeed in convincing the prosecution that the case should be closed."

According to the indictment filed with the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court, Harow, who as Netanyahu's chief of staff still owned 3H Global and enjoyed the company's profits, helped arrange a meeting between Netanyahu and the president of Madagascar, following which his company earned 124,000 shekels ($36,000).

Harow did so at the recommendation of a friend from his synagogue, who worked for another firm, Nip Global. The company invited the president of Madagascar to visit Israel and hired 3H Global to help to coordinate the visit, after the Foreign Ministry refused to do so. 

Harow, according to the indictment, presented false documents purporting to show he had sold his part in H3, based on which he was cleared to start his position as chief of staff.

In April 2017, the police recommended that Harow be indicted on charges including bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering. The police said that while serving as chief of staff, Harow maintained control of the firm, continued to profit from it and advanced its interests.

It was while searching Harow’s belongings in 2015 that the police came across a recording of a Netanyahu-Mozes conversation.

In 2015, Harow was arrested by the national fraud squad, on suspicions he was continuing to secretly operate a private lobbying and consulting business while he was the premier’s chief of staff. 

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