Netanyahu Expected to Be Questioned as a Criminal Suspect

Other members of the prime minister’s family may also be called in for questioning, Channel 2 reports, following 15-hour interrogation of his former chief of staff.

Following the questioning by law enforcement officials for 15 hours on Thursday of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Ari Harow, Channel 2 has reported that the interrogation of Harow focused on the conduct of the prime minister himself and that Netanyahu and perhaps other members of his family are expected to be questioned under caution, meaning as criminal suspects. The report by Channel 2 journalist Amnon Abramovich aired on Friday.

The potential investigation of the prime minister follows information provided to law enforcement by a source close to Netanyahu, Abramovich said. The current investigation would reportedly apparently be carried out not only in Israel, but also in the United States and France.

Earlier this month, Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu is being investigated in connection with a massive money-laundering scheme.

If the reported focus of the questioning on Thursday of Harow is accurate, it would be in contrast to his interrogation last December, which centered on Harow’s sale of a consulting firm that he owned. Law enforcement officials are thought to be making use in the new case of information obtained from Harow’s personal computer from his prior questioning.

On Thursday another associate of Netanyahu’s was questioned by police in connection with the prime minister. Two senior officials who have worked in the Prime Minister’s Office since Netanyahu resumed serving as prime minister in 2009, following an earlier stint in the 1990s, are also expected to be summoned for questioning shortly.

This month, Haaretz reported that the police suspect that Harow was involved in a fictitious transaction for the sale for $3 million of a H3 Global, the private consulting firm that he owned. Harow resigned as chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office in January 2015, but the suspicions regarding the consulting firm only arose in recent months. Although Harow reported selling the firm for $3 million, not all of the sum was paid to him, prompting the police to suspect that the transaction was fictitious. As a result, an investigation was launched in December and Harow spent five days under house arrest.

The American-born Harow is a former head of American Friends of Likud, Netanyahu’s party. The American Friends group financed several trips abroad by Netanyahu and his family. Harow was involved in fundraising for Netanyahu, who in in February 2009, appointed him as the director of the Prime Minister’s Office.

It was after he left the Prime Minister’s Office for the first time in March 2010 that Harow founded Global H3. In September 2013, when Netanyahu tapped him as chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office, Harow signed a conflict of interest agreement in which he committed not to have any involvement in managing the company, which was to be left to his business partners and his two brothers.



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