Massive Money Laundering Reportedly Suspected in Latest Netanyahu Investigation

Police are looking into the transfer of large sums to Netanyahu or a member of his family, Channel 2 reports.

Prime Minister Netanyahu in Knesset, June, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

The latest police investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's affairs involves suspicions of money laundering on a wide-scale, Channel 10 reported on Friday.

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 on Friday. The correspondent added that there was no certainty that the investigation will yield criminal charges.

According to the 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.

Harow, a long-time aide to the prime minister, is being investigated for his role in the $3 million sale of business development firm 3H Global.

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.

The consultations have been joined at times by senior prosecutors and sometimes the head of police investigations. They have been shown material gathered to see whether the information has any criminal potential.

Contrary to his predecessor, Yehuda Weinstein, Mandelblit holds meetings with relatively few participants on issues regarding Netanyahu. Well-informed sources have told Haaretz that Mandelblit aspires to swiftly complete handling the material gathered against Netanyahu.

"There is a lot of movement with regard to the incidents involving the prime minister," an informed source said.

After Haaretz exposed material being gathered against Netanyahu Channel 2 reported that Lahav 433, the elite police investigations unit was involved in examining cases allegedly involving the prime minister. The examination is in addition to three other affairs regarding the prime minister's residence, the Bibi-tours affair, and the Mimran affair. Channel 10 reported at the time that "new information has been received on many subjects, very in depth, credible and backed up information."

Details of these cases involved police recommendations issued at the end of May to indict Netanyahu's spouse, Sara, for suspected irregularities, such as ordering food from private chefs for a family event, and a live-in caregiver for her father at the public's expense.