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Running of Israeli PM Netanyahu's households draws criminal inquiry

Israel`s Attorney-General on Monday ordered a criminal investigation into suspected mismanagement in the running of the residences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Justice Ministry said.



Jerusalem: Israel`s Attorney-General on Monday ordered a criminal investigation into suspected mismanagement in the running of the residences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Justice Ministry said.

A report earlier this year by the State Comptroller, Israel`s state auditor, covering 2009-2013 said some of the taxpayer-funded running costs at the prime minister`s official and private residences were unreasonably high and it called for steps to improve efficiency.

A Justice Ministry statement said Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had adopted a police recommendation to investigate "a number of matters concerning the running of the prime minister`s residences."

The statement mentioned no names and a source at the State Attorney`s office said there were no plans to call in Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, for questioning, although this could not be ruled out later.

"We cannot elaborate on what investigative actions have been taken or will be taken..., (or) who will be invited for questioning," the statement said.

Israeli news reports said a senior official at the prime minister`s office who oversees logistical matters and an external contractor, would be questioned.

In an acrimonious election campaign which led to Netanyahu securing a fourth term in office in March, Israeli news outlets who sided against him, published allegations of imperious treatment of household staff by Sara Netanyahu. 

She and the prime minister denied the allegations and he called on the media to focus on him in the election campaign rather than his wife.
(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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