Official in PMO Under Investigation for Fraud, Breach of Trust

Perah Lerner, Netanyahu's adviser on Knesset affairs, is under investigation for using her position to advance the career of her husband, a PR executive.

Olivier Fitoussi

Perah Lerner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu's adviser on Knesset affairs, has been under investigation on suspicion of fraud, breach of trust and other charges – details of the investigation were cleared for publication on Friday.

On Thursday, Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan was reportedly considering suspending Lerner from her position.

The police's Lahav 433 investigative unit began looking into Lerner amid suspicions she used her position to benefit her husband, Avi Lerner, a public relations executive. In July, TheMarker reported that the Civil Service Commission was looking into possible conflicts of interest regarding Lerner and her husband's work with the Prime Minister's Office and other government offices.

Avi Lerner has also done consulting for Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin, at whose office Perah Lerner was once slated to be director general.

Avi Lerner heads a PR firm called Lerner Com, which has done work for the government, though Lerner's associates say the company no longer works with the government.

Lerner is the PR person for the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom, and is also employed by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the Gush Etzion Regional Council. He is also related to Ari Haro, who until recently was chief of staff at the Prime Minister's Office, working above Perah Lerner.

Lerner's associates have said there was "total separation" between her and her husband. In response to TheMarker's report, the Prime Minister's Office said Lerner had never acted in a conflict of interest.

This week, Lahav 433 searched the Lerners' home and confiscated computers and files. The couple were questioned for eight hours and released with a warning not to contact anyone involved in the investigation.