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Police to question witnesses on funding of Netanyahu’s home renovations – report

Officials to collect testimony amid probe of whether state funds were used for former PM’s private house; he himself is not currently a suspect

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence in Caesarea. (Video screenshot)
File: Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence in Caesarea. (Video screenshot)

Police are expected to summon witnesses next week to give testimony on funding for work done at the private Caesarea home of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Friday report.

The Ynet news site said the three witnesses include tradespeople involved in the work.

Police are looking into suspicions that private work done at the Caesarea residence was paid for by the state under false pretenses. The Netanyahus are not currently suspected of wrongdoing.

Channel 12 reported Thursday that the main issue was a jacuzzi installed at the residence, while Channel 13 on Friday pointed to pool renovations and lighting work.

According to Channel 12, the work was done under the guise of a security upgrade for the property. Channel 13 reported that a renovating company is suspected of receiving state funds to do unnecessary work at the official Prime Minister’s Residence. At the same time it carried out renovations at the Caesarea home.

The Netanyahu family has flatly denied the reports, saying that since they bought the home 20 years ago, no jacuzzi has ever been installed inside. The family said all renovations at the private residence were paid for personally and approved by official overseers.

Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, have been the subject of several probes over the years on suspicion of illicitly using state funds for their own needs.

In 2019, Sara Netanyahu was convicted in a plea bargain that saw her confess to “taking unfair advantage of a mistake” and illegally procuring catering services at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

Her case was separate from her husband’s legal woes, in which the former prime minister is charged with accepting illicit gifts, taking bribes, and attempting to arrange favors for media barons in exchange for positive press coverage.

Sara Netanyahu was a suspect in one of those cases, but prosecutors did not ultimately recommend she face charges.

Benjamin Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and claims the indictments are part of an effort by political rivals, the media, police and prosecutors to curb his power.

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