Ari Harow, a former chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, was questioned again by police Thursday on suspicion of improprieties in the sale of his consulting firm. Harow had reported that he sold the company for $3 million, but not all of the sum was transferred to him, and the police suspect that the sale was fictitious. Harow’s lawyer has insisted that the sale was entirely genuine.
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Harow resigned from the Prime Minister’s Office in January 2015. The investigation against him began in December of last year and he was placed under house arrest for five days. In July of this year, on landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport from abroad, Harow was taken in for police questioning.
Born in the United States, he is a former director of American Friends of Likud, the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. American Friends of Likud financed several trips abroad that Netanyahu and his family took.
In 2009, Netanyahu appointed Harow as head of the Prime Minister’s Bureau. After leaving the position in March 2010, Harow opened 3H Global, a privately owned consulting and business development firm. In 2013, with his appointment as Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Harow signed a conflict of interest agreement committing to refrain from any involvement in running it.
Harow later presented an agreement for the sale of 3H Global to the legal adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office. It stated that the company was being purchased by VJD Holdings LLC, with an address in Manhattan. Haaretz found that the address provided for VJD Holdings houses a doctor’s office.
The amount that Harow received in the sale also prompted questions. Although the 3H Global was in existence for only about four years and had not established substantial business, it was sold for $3 million, to be paid to Harow in 12 equal installments between April 2014 and January 2017.
As required by law, a trustee was appointed on Harow’s behalf who was to report to the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the execution of the sale. Although the reports showed that some of the funds did get paid to Harow, they were not paid in accordance with the contract. That raised suspicions that the sale was fictitious, that Harow was continuing to manage it while also serving as Netanyahu’s chief of staff and that he might have taken advantage of his senior position in the Prime Minister’s Office to further the business.