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21 Jul, 2015 13:24

Taxpayers’ money misspending at Israel PM Netanyahu’s residences probed

Taxpayers’ money misspending at Israel PM Netanyahu’s residences probed

Israel’s attorney general has announced a criminal investigation into alleged misconduct at the residences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A senior staffer in his office is reportedly suspected of corruption.

Yehuda Weinstein agreed on Monday to follow the recommendations of the state auditor and launch criminal investigation into numerous allegations of misconduct at the PM’s residences, he said in a statement.

The Justice Ministry said that "due to nature of the investigation, we will not be able to expand on past and current investigative actions, and will not expand on the identity of the people who are set to be questioned in the framework of the upcoming investigation.”

The decision comes a month after police made the request. It followed months of investigation into alleged corruption in the Netanyahu household, which first surfaced during his electoral run for fourth tenure as Israeli leader.

READ MORE: ​Bottlegate? Netanyahu denies wife pocketed state money in cash-for-bottles scheme

According to Yedioth Ahronot newspaper, the probe is to focus on Ezra Saidoff, who is a deputy director general at Netanyahu’s office. He faces suspension for the time of the investigation. Saidoff is responsible for financial operations in the office.

An additional suspect is electrician Avi Fahima, who allegedly rounded up the cost of his work at the PM's Caesarea home, the report said.

The newspaper said the Netanyahu and his wife Sara are not suspected of any criminal wrongdoing, citing a source close to the probe. The couple was accused by the media during the recent election campaign of using taxpayers’ money to pay unreasonably high running costs of the PM’s residences.