The state comptroller has asked Israel’s attorney general to examine suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given false financial statements over the past decade.
Channel 12 news reported Thursday that last week State Comptroller Yosef Shapira gave Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit details of Netanyahu’s financial reports over the last decade, and asked Mandelblit to check the statements over suspicions of criminal implications.
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 his cousin, US businessman Nathan Milikowsky, as well as businessman Spencer Partrich to fund his legal defense in cases where he faces corruption charges. The request to the State Comptroller’s 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.
The report did not make clear which statements Netanyahu may have made that were false.
The findings were sent to the attorney general with a letter requesting a review of the case.
The probe is tied to the so-called submarine affair, a massive alleged graft scheme tied to the multi-billion-shekel state purchase of naval vessels and submarines from German shipbuilder 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 German submarine maker Thyssenkrupp. 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.