Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly never received authorization from a state panel to buy shares in his cousin Nathan Milikovsky’s manufacturing company, despite the premier’s testimony to the contrary.
In a letter to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reported on by Channel 13 on Sunday, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira said his office’s Permits Committee did not approve Netanyahu’s stock purchase in Seadrift, a company owned by Milikovsky that has ties to the German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp.
Netanyahu’s office dismissed the report in a statement, asserting that the premier reported his investment in Seadrift and received permission from the Permits Committee to continue holding shares in his cousin’s firm. “The prime minister (also) reported the sale (of those shares) to both the state comptroller and the tax authorities,” the Prime Minister’s Office added.
Last week, Channel 12 reported that Shapira had given Mandelblit details of the premier’s financial reports over the last decade and asked him to examine suspicions that Netanyahu had given false financial statements.
The news report did not reveal a source for the information, but claimed the comptroller’s report stemmed from Netanyahu’s rejected request to retroactively approve a $300,000 donation by Milikowsky to fund his legal defense in cases where he faces corruption charges. The request to the Permits Committee led Shapira to take a closer look at the prime minister’s financial dealings.
The report said Shapira conducted a “thorough examination of the prime minister’s reports over the past decade” and found evidence of “suspected criminal activities.”
In response to the report, Netanyahu’s Likud party dismissed what it said was “more fabricated nonsense” designed to skew the elections on Tuesday.
The probe is tied to the so-called submarine affair, or Case 4000, a massive alleged graft scheme surrounding the multi-billion-shekel state purchase of naval vessels and submarines from Thyssenkrupp. Some have called it the largest suspected graft scandal in the country’s history.
The prime minister has so far not been considered a suspect in the case.
Recent reports have suggested Netanyahu made a return of over 700 percent on the stocks in Seadrift, a company with ties to the German shipbuilder. Netanyahu bought the shares for $400,000 and then sold them in 2010 to Milikowsky for $4.3 million. That dramatic profit has led to speculation of possible impropriety in Netanyahu’s financial dealings.