In Moscow, Netanyahu slams ‘systematic persecution’ against him
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'What they failed to do in the ballots they’re trying to do with false accusations and media hype'

In Moscow, Netanyahu slams ‘systematic persecution’ against him

Standing beside Putin, PM says media turned his wife ‘into human dust’; blasts inaccurate claims over cash he took from alleged French fraudster

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with Russian President following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 7, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with Russian President following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 7, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday lashed out at the media for turning his wife Sara Netanyahu “into human dust” as part of what he called “systematic political persecution” against him.

Sara Netanyahu was propelled anew into the public eye after police recommended last week she stand trial on graft charges over alleged financial wrongdoing at the official residence. Last Tuesday, the Jerusalem District Labor Court also awarded NIS 120,000 ($31,000) in damages to a former employee of Netanyahu’s official residence, ruling that Sara Netanyahu had mistreated him with verbal abuse and unreasonable demands.

In Moscow, and standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu on Tuesday said “they trample the image of my wife and turn her into human dust.”

In the press conference, the prime minister linked the ostensible of hounding of his wife to allegations that he received money illicitly from a Frenchman accused of fraud, and said this was all part of a concerted campaign to oust him from power.

He termed it, along with a growing number of other recent instances where his integrity has been questioned, “systematic political persecution” and “false accusations.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, tour Ramat Hanadiv, a nature park in northern Israel, April 25, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, tour Ramat Hanadiv, a nature park in northern Israel, April 25, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

“They spoke about a million euro for the 2009 election campaign,” he said of the funds he allegedly took from Frenchman Arnaud Mimran. “It wasn’t a million euro. It wasn’t an election campaign. It wasn’t 2009. What they failed to do in the ballots they’re trying to do with false accusations and media hype,” said Netanyahu.

It was his first reaction to claims by Mimran to the effect that he funded an election campaign by Netanyahu. Mimran reportedly testified in a French court that he gave Netanyahu one million euro in 2009. The prime minister’s office denied the claims, but on Monday it acknowledged that Mimran gave the prime minister some $40,000 in 2001, when he was a private citizen, for Israel advocacy. On Monday, Mimran told Channel 10 that he gave Netanyahu one million francs in 2001, but on Tuesday told Channel 2 that he couldn’t remember the details and that Netanyahu was right.

Arnaud Mimran (right) and his lawyer Jean-Marc Fedida (left), arrive at the Paris courthouse on May 25, 2016. (AFP/Bertrand Guay)
Arnaud Mimran (right) and his lawyer Jean-Marc Fedida (left), arrive at the Paris courthouse on May 25, 2016. (AFP/Bertrand Guay)

“I believe in our justice system, and nothing will come of any of these cases, and do you know why? Because there is nothing,” Netanyahu added. The attorney general is examining the Mimran accusations.

Last week, police told the state prosecutor they had amassed sufficient evidence to put Sara Netanyahu on trial for aggravated fraud for appropriating for private use public funds earmarked for the Prime Minister’s Residence.

The prime minister’s wife has been accused of improper behavior and misuse of state funds relating to the Prime Minister’s Residence, including receiving goods under false pretenses, falsifying documents and breach of trust.

 

Two of the cases involve her using state money to order food for personal use on the public dime, and a third case involves using public funds to pay for a caretaker for her elderly father.

Handing over their findings to the Jerusalem district attorney, police said there was sufficient evidence to indict Sara Netanyahu, electrician Avi Fahima, and Ezra Saidoff, deputy director for operations at the Prime Minister’s Office.

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