Netanyahu Suspected of Receiving Perks From Businessmen, Report Says

Netanyahu will be questioned in coming days, investigation relates both to prime minister and members of his family, Channel 2 reports.

Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, July 24, 2016.
RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of receiving substantial perks from two businessmen, Israel's Channel 2 reported Thursday evening, after Israel's attorney general permitted the police to open a criminal investigation against him.

According to the report, Netanyahu will be questioned under caution in the coming days for his ties to the businessmen, one of whom is an Israeli national and the other a foreign citizen.

In addition to these suspicions an additional investigation is underway, as first reported by Haaretz's Gidi Weitz. The second affair has come to light as a result of recent developments in an investigation related to the prime minister. According to Channel 2 this incident also involves members of Netanyahu's family.

The legal probe into Netanyahu began six months ago after sources gave the police information indicating suspected criminal activity, however, as parts of the information were debunked or could not be corroborated, police have now focused their efforts on the two other affairs.

Earlier this week Haaretz reported there had been developments in Netanyahu’s case. Over the past few weeks the police have been examining the additional case that raises criminal suspicions, in addition to the main case occupying investigators.

In July Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced that an inquiry was being launched “following information that was received regarding matters that, inter alia, involve the prime minister,” as a Justice Ministry press statement put it. The inquiry was sparked by substantial information that two intelligence sources gave to the police.

Mendelblit has since received additional explosive material about the prime minister that many top police officers and prosecutors believed warranted the immediate launch of a criminal investigation.

Mendelblit, however, has been delaying the launch of an open investigation for several months. He allowed the police to look into the information he’s received from intelligence sources over the past few months, but has been intervening in the detectives’ work and has maintained far tighter supervision of the inquiry than his predecessors did under similar circumstances.

However, information about the alleged systematic transfer of gifts and other benefits from tycoons to Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, were confirmed by some of the witnesses.