The National Fraud Unit has begun looking into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s past as part of a preliminary probe into the nature of multiple trips abroad reportedly paid for by benefactors.
The so-called “Bibi-Tours” affairs centers around trips taken by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, when he was finance minister and later a Knesset member. His jet-setting lifestyle while only a Knesset member reportedly raised questions.
Police interviewed persons of interest who worked with Netanyahu over the past decade, Channel 10 reported Sunday night, though the report noted that it was not a formal investigation. Rather, the purpose is to assess whether or not there was, in fact, any wrongdoing and whether the matter is worth pursuing.
The conclusions will be sent to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who will decide if there is sufficient cause to open a criminal investigation.
“As has been divulged in the past, an examination is being made concerning matters relating to the prime minister during his time as a member of Knesset,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement. “Beyond that, we cannot elaborate at this time.”
Two-and-a-half years ago, a Channel 10 investigative report first raised the issue of journeys made by Netanyahu in the interim between his two bouts as prime minister, from 1999 to 2009. During that period, Netanyahu served first as finance minister and later as an MK and leader of the opposition.
In January 2013, the attorney general asked police to investigate Netanyahu in a related matter concerning illegal money he allegedly received from Haredi singer and businessman Dedi Graucher.