Alleged Money Laundering Investigation Into Netanyahu to Go Public This Week

Law enforcement source says probe into funds allegedly received by Netanyahu or member of his family can no longer be kept under wraps.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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A profile shot of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the 2016 Genesis Prize award-ceremony in Jerusalem, June 23, 2016. He is wearing a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Credit: Amir Cohen, Reuters
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

A senior law enforcement official said Saturday that the police investigation into suspicions of money laundering on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go public this week or early next week.

According to the official, the Israel Police believe they have enough evidence to take the investigation public. Some of the investigation materials had originated in other investigations unrelated to the current probe, but have now been linked to the money laundering investigation.

According to the official, the police and the attorney general's office think it is untenable to keep the investigation a secret, due to its sensitivity and relevance to the Israeli public, and thus a decision was reached to make an official announcement about the investigation into Netanyahu.

Recently, the police tried to reach a number of people they hope can shed light on the affair and could serve as state witnesses.

The investigation team is comprised of a small number of officers who have kept all the investigation details mum, preventing any leaks to the press. Nonetheless, despite their efforts, news of people being summoned for questioning by the police's anti-fraud unit began to leak, starting a wave of rumors which they fear could obstruct the investigation.

On Friday, Israel's channels 10 and 2 reported that the latest police investigation into Netanyahu's affairs involves suspicions of money laundering on a wide-scale.

The suspicion pertains to the alleged transfer of "large sums" to either Netanyahu or one of his family members and is not linked to campaign or political funding, Channel 2's senior diplomatic correspondent Amnon Abramovich said.

Israel's Channel 2 reported Saturday the investigation focuses on funds allegedly received by a Netanyahu family member. The report said the alleged funds were not used for political purposes.

According to Friday's report on Channel 10, the secret investigation was not directly linked to cases involving the prime minister's associates, among them his former chief of staff, Ari Harow. The investigation may require questioning abroad, but no investigators have yet been sent out of Israel, the report said.

Netanyahu denies all wrongdoing, the Channel 10 report said.

On Monday, a Channel 2 report said the investigation focuses on foreign funds received by Netanyahu after he resumed office in 2009. Officially Israeli law enforcement officials have described the information gathering as an "examination," but in effect it is a full-fledged investigation, and all acceptable steps are being taken except for summoning suspects for questioning.

Last month Gidi Weitz revealed in Haaretz that Attorey General Avihai Mandelblit has been holding intensive consultations for weeks about material related to Netanyahu.

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