AG asked police to investigate Netanyahu over illegal funds

PM denies allegations; police say insufficient evidence to merit probe of businessman’s supposed transfer of thousands of shekels

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The attorney general ordered an investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after suspicions arose that he received money illegally from Haredi singer and businessman Dedi Graucher, Channel 10 news reported Sunday.

The police have so far concluded that there is not enough evidence to open a probe.

According to the report, Graucher is suspected of handing thousands of shekels to Netanyahu’s personal driver for transfer to the prime minister.

The alleged money transfer was exposed during the State Comptroller’s investigation of the “Bibi-tours” affairs, in which the prime minister was accused of using money from businessmen for private trips for him and his family. Two of Netanyahu’s office workers claim to have witnessed the money exchange and attorney general Yehuda Weinstein ordered police to start a discreet investigation of the transfer a few months ago.

One of the allegations involves a NIS 48,000 ($13,000) New York hotel bill apparently paid on Netanyahu’s behalf by Graucher’s corporation. Graucher has denied those accusations and claimed he only gave the prime minister a credit card for a security deposit on the room.

Netanyahu immediately denied the allegations against him, claiming underlying agendas to be behind the attorney general’s decision to investigate him.

“This is a false accusation lacking any basis that has, by no coincidence, been made public two weeks prior to the elections, in order to degrade Mr. Netanyahu and hurt his chances of being reelected prime minister,” Netanyahu’s lawyers David Shimron and Michael Rabilu said. “The prime minister did not receive one penny from Mr. Dedi Graucher — neither directly, nor through his driver.”

Anonymous sources close to Graucher stated that Netanyahu had not received any funding from him and that the money was given to the driver for personal reasons.

“Graucher gave a donation of hundreds of shekels to the sister of a driver who had worked with the prime minister for years, just as he has assisted many others, without the prime minister’s knowledge or involvement,” a source said.

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