New witness could prove explosive in Bibi probe
THE SAGA of the corruption investigations targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took another twist this week with news that his former chief of staff, Ari Harrow, was in talks with the State Prosecutor to turn state witness.
Mr Harrow worked in various capacities for the prime minister from 2006, when he was head of American Friends of Likud, and it is alleged he helped fund the salaries of members of Mr Netanyahu’s staff while the politician was opposition leader.
After Mr Netanyahu returned to power in 2009, Mr Harrow worked as bureau chief at the prime minister’s office, before leaving to set up a private consulting firm. He returned in 2013 to serve as chief of staff and, in order to resolve a potential conflict of interests, was directed to sell his firm.
Police have been investigating Mr Harrow since late 2015 over allegations of fraud. He is suspected of organising a fictitious sale of his firm for millions of shekels.
Having been close to the prime minister for a decade and intimately involved in his financial affairs, the investigators are hoping he may be able to supply the breakthrough in a number of investigations, including the probe into the “gifts” received by Mr Netanyahu and his wife from wealthy businessmen.
Mr Harrow was also involved in the meetings between the prime minister and the publisher of Yedioth Ahronot, Arnon Mozes, another subject of investigation. It was his phone that was used to record the meetings.
Friends of Mr Harrow have said in the past that “he’s loyal but he won’t fall on his sword for anyone”. The possibility that he could serve time in prison for fraud could well lead him to sign a state witness agreement, but he will have to first convince the investigators he has concrete evidence against the prime minister and others close to him.