Wife of Israeli Ambassador to Chile Admits to Padding Expenses

Foreign Ministry source says fraud allegedly amounted to some $5,000; Ambassador David Dadon says he was unaware of the matter.

The wife of Israel’s ambassador to Chile has admitted to a Foreign Ministry’s internal auditor that she and her husband submitted expense accounts that were padded by thousands of dollars. The ambassador, David Dadon, says he was not aware of the matter.

A source in the Foreign Ministry said local employees of Israel’s embassy in Chile reported suspicions regarding reimbursements to Dadon and his wife. According to the information, the expense accounts that were submitted did not match the embassy’s actual spending on events held at the embassy. After the alleged misconduct was reported, the Foreign Ministry’s internal auditor, Jacob Keidar, dispatched a representative to Santiago to examine the embassy’s books. According to a source at the Foreign Ministry, evidence was allegedly found of expense-account fraud in the amount of $5,000. When questioned, local employees at the embassy implicated Dadon and his wife in the alleged misconduct.

The ambassador’s wife initially claimed some of the local employees were trying to frame her. But when she and the ambassador were confronted with the allegedly incriminating evidence, she confirmed some of the claims. The ambassador said he was not aware of the suspected actions.

Keidar’s representative did not make do with the admission of the actions by the ambassador’s wife and the return of the money, but also insisted that the ambassador’s wife admit her actions to the embassy employees and apologize to those she had accused. She did so, and then, also in the presence of the staff, Dadon criticized his wife’s alleged actions and said he knew nothing about them.

For reasons that are not known, Dadon’s direct superiors in the Latin American desk at the Foreign Ministry were not made aware of the affair, which remained within the limited circle of the office of the Foreign Ministry director general, the ministry’s legal department and the internal auditor. According to a Foreign Ministry source, Keidar stated in a report that he found the ambassador’s version of events to be credible. A preliminary report on the affair has been sent to the disciplinary department of the civil service, but since the ambassador’s wife is not a state employee it cannot discipline her. A decision over whether to expand the investigation to include the ambassador’s conduct is expected shortly. In addition, the civil service could forward its findings to the police, for a criminal investigation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Primor said: “Examinations revealed irregularities involving reimbursement of expenses and for reasons of confidentiality we will not disclose the identity of the people. The case is being dealt with by the Foreign Ministry according to the appropriate procedures.”