イスラエル首相の経費の扱い、犯罪行為の可能性−会計監査官 - Bloomberg





Netanyahu’s Personal Spending May Be Criminal, Watchdog Says - Bloomberg Business

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spending at his two homes on food, cleaning, furniture and clothing may expose him to criminal prosecution, the government’s chief watchdog said.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira issued a report Tuesday that shows how money spent on both food for his family and entertaining official guests more than doubled to 490,000 shekels ($126,000) in 2011 from 2009. It notes that the annual budget was cut to 226,000 shekels in 2013 after the earlier spending was criticized in the media.

“There is concern about an alleged breach of integrity that borders on the suspicion of a criminal act,” Shapira said in the report that he sent to the attorney general for possible prosecution.

Netanyahu’s Likud party responded to the report in a statement saying, “there is absolutely no indication of any assault on the public’s integrity and certainly no indication of any criminal transgressions.” The charges were instigated by political opponents, the party said, calling it a “clear effort to remove the Prime Minister from office and the Likud from leadership through a focus on irrelevant minutia.”

Rivals in Israel’s March 17 election seized on the report to criticize Netanyahu for maintaining an extravagant lifestyle while accusing him of ignoring the poor. Meretz party leader Zehava Galon issued a statement saying the report on Netanyahu’s spending reflected the “corrupt practices of a banana republic.”

Likud is running neck-and-neck with opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Camp, though polls show Netanyahu is more likely to be able to assemble a ruling coalition with smaller parties in the 120-seat parliament.

Netanyahu, who is running for a fourth term, has said in the past that repeated investigations of his behavior in office, particularly into his wife Sara’s spending and treatment of household employees, are a witch hunt instigated by political opponents. The prime minister spends most of the week at his official residence in Jerusalem and weekends at his private home in the northern coastal town of Caesarea.

Netanyahu’s wife appeared in a video yesterday in which she took celebrity designer Moshik Galamin on a tour of the Jerusalem home to show how poorly it’s maintained, focusing on a torn rug, stained curtains, rotting walls, chipped linoleum in the kitchen and old ovens.

Former Shin-Bet spy agency chief Yuval Diskin reacted by saying on his Facebook page that the house tour was a security breach for which terrorists “would pay a fortune.”

Among other findings by the comptroller were alleged overspending on cleaners in the Caesarea home and on take-out food ordered by the Netanyahus, noting that the government employed a full-time cook in the Jerusalem residence. The report also said the prime minister improperly hired an electrician to make repairs in Caesarea who was a local Likud leader.

The comptroller is in the early stages of examining further allegations that Netanyahu’s wife mishandled thousands of shekels from deposits on returnable bottles, the report said.