New wit­ness could prove ex­plo­sive in Bibi probe

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

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.

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