While all the attention is on President Trump and Robert Mueller’s grand jury, there is another world leader dealing with an investigation: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He and his inner circle are facing a corruption probe on a number of matters, although there has yet to be any evidence that Netanyahu has actually committed a crime.
Here are five things you need to know about the corruption probe into Netanyahu.
1. One of the allegations against Netanyahu involves gifts. According to The New Yorker, Netanyahu is being investigated as to whether he “received illicit gifts” from Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan, which included jewelry and Cuban cigars, as well as gifts from Australian businessman James Packer that included paying for the Netanyahu family. There has yet to be any evidence of quid pro quo with regard to these allegations, although Israeli law only permits gifts that are of “small value and reasonable in context,” whichThe New Yorker notes is “ambiguous.”
2. Another allegation involves a deal between Netanyahu and a publisher of an Israeli newspaper. The allegation is that Arnon Mozes, publisher of the Yediot Aharot newspaper, discussed a deal that would involve more positive coverage from the paper if Netanyahu passed a law that would hurt the circulation of Yediot Aharot‘s competitor, Israel Hayom, which just so happens to be owned by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Israeli police reportedly possess tapes featuring conversations between the Mozes and Netanyahu, with some transcripts available here. However, it doesn’t appear that a deal ever came to fruition between the two.
3. David Shimron, Netanyahu’s lawyer and cousin, reportedly has connections to a submarine deal that has been alleged as corrupt. The issue is over Netanyahu’s purchase of German submarines that benefited a German manufacturer that Shimron represents. Netanyahu is not a suspect in this corruption investigation; Shimron has been questioned and placed under house arrest for a period of time over it. Mickey Ganor, who played a key role in the deal and is also represented by Shimron, has agreed to become a witness for the state. Shimron has denied any wrongdoing.
4. Netanyahu’s former chief of staff has agreed to a become a state witness. Ari Harow, who was Netanyahu’s bureau chief from 2008-2010 and his chief of staff from 2014-2015, was being investigated over wrongdoing in selling his consulting business; in exchange for a minor sentence, he agreed to hand over evidence and expressed willingness to testify against Netanyahu with regard to an investigation surrounding the gifts. Harow also recorded one of the conversations between Netanyahu and Mozes.
5. Netanyahu has called the probe “a witch hunt.” “The witch-hunt to topple the government is in full swing but it will fail because of this simple reason: There will be nothing because there was nothing,” stated Netanyahu’s office.
Netanyahu also said in a Facebook video, “I would like to tell you, citizens of Israel, that I do not heed background noises. I continue to work for you.”