Revealed: Israeli PM’s Not So Transparent Years As Foreign Minister

Sameera Ehteram
A state comptroller’s report reveals suspicion of Benjamin Netanyahu double billing and diverting funds during his time as foreign minister.

Joseph Shapira, Israel’s state comptroller and ombudsman, has found that the behavior of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates most likely violated a series of laws that forbid accepting gifts and other benefits.

The State Comptroller’s Report 66c for 2015 shows Netanyahu, during his time as foreign minister, never cleared payments with Knesset and indicated “suspicion of double billing and the diversion of funds” and “lack of clarity concerning accounting with El Al regarding the Netanyahu family’s use of bonus points belonging to the state that were allegedly used for private travel.”

There are also alleged improper funding of flights abroad by Bibi and his family during that time.

"The trips by Netanyahu and his family that were funded by external sources when he was finance minister deviated from the rules, and could give the impression of receiving a gift or of a conflict of interest," the report said.

The allegations include $50,000 worth of flights for wife Sara Netanyahu and the couple's sons that were paid for by foreign businessmen and groups without appropriate accounting and approvals.

Read More: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Wife Is A Mess

Netanyahu also used public funds for a personal trip, and Yechiel Leiter, his chief of staff at the Finance Ministry, fronted personal costs for him, according to the report.

In October 2004, the Netanyahus stayed at expensive locations in the U.S. and on the French Riviera at least partially at the expense of Israel Bonds for $4,270 and 4,133 euros.

According to the Justice Ministry, materials “are being examined” by teams from the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office and the National Fraud Squad under the supervision of attorney Uri Corb — one of the lead prosecutors in the cases against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  and fraud squad commander Brig. Gen. Koresh Bar-Nur.

Netanyahu said he is not aware of any claims of criminal suspicions and that all his actions were proper.

But then he also once shared a tour video of his “humble” home on his Facebook page aiming to show how he lived the life of the masses.

It later turned out that the house with creaking doors, tattered rugs and a messy kitchen was in fact the prime minister’s servants' quarters.

Read More: Does Benjamin Netanyahu Live In Servant’s Quarters?