3 January 2017
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned under caution, by police at his residence for three hours. The ongoing investigations involve suspicion of bribery and aggravated-fraud. The investigations were started 9 months back. The term “under caution” refers to the questioning of suspects, with the warning that anything they say or decline to talk about could be used against them in court proceedings.
Netanyahu has acknowledged receiving $40,000 from Arnaud Mimran, a French tycoon who was sentenced to eight years in prison over a €283m scam. Attorney General’s office is investigating into this matter separately. Netanyahu’s office said that this $40,000 was received when he was not in office and it was for public activities including promoting Israel abroad.
Prime Minister is also facing enquiry over purchase of submarines from German firm ThyssenKrupp which is partly owned by Iranian government. His personal lawyer, David Shimron, is also the legal counsel for ThyssenKrupp.
Netanyahu was investigated on allegations of fraud and breach of public trust during his first term as Prime Minister in 1990s. The attorney general at the time decided to drop the case for lack of evidence. He is currently in his fourth term of office.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied any wrong doing.
High level corruption is nothing new to Israel. Mr Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, is in prison for corruption. Ariel Sharon, who was Prime Minister of Israel from March 2001 until April 2006, was questioned by police over accusations that he accepted bribes but the case was dropped and he was never charged as he was incapacitated by a stroke in January 2006.