Former Netanyahu Aide Remanded to Five Days House Arrest After 14-hour Interrogation

Ari Harow was summoned to testify in the police inquiry regarding the prime minister's affairs. Two other senior officials employed in the prime minister's office expected to be called in for questioning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu / Former chief of staff Ari Harow
Reuters, Marc Salem

Ari Harow, a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was remanded to five days house arrest after he was interrogated by police for 14 hours on Thursday relating to the police inquiry regarding the prime minister's affairs. Harow was detained for questioning Thursday morning after landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Two other senior officials employed in the prime minister's office since 2009 are also expected to be called in for questioning in the next few days, Haaretz has learned.

Harow, who served as chief of staff at the Prime Minister's Office, is being investigated for his role in the $3 million sale of business development firm 3H Global, Haaretz reported two weeks ago.

Harow was also questioned about Netanyahu's activities that are being probed by the police, in the hope that a deeper inquiry against the former aide will shed a light on other affairs.

Harow resigned from his post at the PMO in January 2015, and in recent months has been accused of falsifying the sale of his consulting firm. The sale price was stated as $3 million, but he allegedly did not receive the entire sum.

In December, Harow was questioned under caution — as someone who might be charged with a crime — by the police on suspicion of breach of trust and fraud and was placed under house arrest for five days.

The police are likely to decide whether to recommend perusing charges against Harow shortly.

U.S.-born Harow once headed American Friends of Likud, which has funded trips abroad by Netanyahu and his family. Harow has also raised funds for Netanyahu and served as Netanyahu’s bureau chief from February 2009 to March 2010.

It was in March 2010, after leaving that position, that Harow set up a private consulting and business development firm called 3H Global.

In September 2013, before returning to the Prime Minister’s Office as chief of staff, Harow pledged to sever his ties with the company. “I will not be involved at all in running it, and it will continue to operate under my business partners and my two brothers,” he wrote in the conflict of interest agreement he signed.

According to corporate documents Harow filed, 3H Global engaged in political consulting and business development. Its clients included the president of Paraguay, the city of Modi’in, the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem and two American nonprofit organizations.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has been holding intensive consultations in recent weeks about material related to Netanyahu and his associates.

On Sunday, Mendelblit announced that an investigation into to Netanyahu's affairs will be opened. "Following information received in matters pertaining among other things to the prime minister, and which has been presented to the attorney general by the police's investigations and intelligence department, the attorney general has conducted a number of discussions attended by the state prosecutor and other senior officials in the Justice Ministry and the police's investigations and intelligence department. Upon their conclusion, the attorney general has decided to instruct that an examination of the matter be opened," his office said.