AG cites ‘progress’ in bid to enlist Netanyahu’s ex-aide as state’s witness
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AG cites ‘progress’ in bid to enlist Netanyahu’s ex-aide as state’s witness

Mandelblit urges patience during investigation into PM's alleged corruption, asserts authorities will 'get to the truth'

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in Jerusalem on July 5, 2015. (Emil Salman/POOL)
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in Jerusalem on July 5, 2015. (Emil Salman/POOL)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appeared to confirm Thursday that prosecutors were working alongside police to reach an agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ex-chief of staff Ari Harow that would see him turn state’s witness in the corruption investigations against his former boss.

“We are progressing and working with police on this matter,” Mandelblit said at a ceremony for outgoing Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran. “I think that these things speak for themselves. We are doing our jobs; give us time to work and we will get to the truth.”

Harow has been under investigation since mid-2015 on suspicion of having used his ties to Netanyahu to advance his private interests. Police have recommended he be indicted for bribery and breach of trust in the case, but Mandelblit has yet to file formal charges against him.

That investigation sparked at least one corruption probe of Netanyahu himself, after officers uncovered recordings on Harow’s computer of meetings between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in late 2014 and early 2015. In the recording, the two seemed to discuss an illicit quid pro quo deal that would have seen the prime minister hobble a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

That investigation, dubbed “Case 2000” by police, is ongoing, as is a separate corruption investigation into allegations that the prime minister received illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors.

Ari Harow, former chief of staff of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a Likud meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Ari Harow, former chief of staff of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a Likud meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Harow is reportedly willing to provide information in both probes, having served as chief of staff during the time of the alleged deal with Mozes and while Netanyahu is said to have received gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels.

On Wednesday, Channel 2 news reported that Harow would also provide testimony in the so-called “submarine affair,” an investigation into the allegedly corrupt purchase of naval vessels from Germany that could lead to indictments of senior public officials. Netanyahu is not a suspect in that case, although he is likely to be called to testify.

Harow first worked for Netanyahu as foreign affairs adviser during his stint as leader of the opposition. He then spearheaded the 2009 election campaign that catapulted Netanyahu back into office. Following the election, he served as the prime minister’s bureau chief until 2010, managing Netanyahu’s schedule and advising him on a range of issues.

He took a break from politics in 2010, when he founded 3H Global, a consultancy firm whose sale he is suspected of fabricating. Harow later returned as chief of staff of the Prime Minister’s Office in 2014, serving there for a year before leaving to run the 2015 election campaign for Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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