Published: Wed, January 04, 2017
Technology | By Ramiro Moody

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu 'quizzed by police under caution' over corruption claims

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu 'quizzed by police under caution' over corruption claims

Police questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday on suspicion of receiving gifts from businessmen in breach of his role as a public servant.

For his part, Netanyahu has denied the alleged improprieties, which include reports that he took gifts while in office worth "hundreds of thousands of shekels (Israeli currency)" - including suits allegedly given to him by USA businessman Ron Lauder.

Netanyahu accepted "favors" from Israeli and foreign businessmen, reported Israel's Channel 2 TV. Netanyahu said earlier in the day that the police would fail to find anything criminal.

According to a report in the Israel daily newspaper Haarez, Ron Lauder told Israeli investigators that he personally bought Benjamin Netanyahu suits and that he also covered the rooming expenses for Netanyahu's son Yair when Yair Netanyahu traveled a broad.

The spending habits of Netanyahu and his family were previously criticized in May and the prime minister was investigated for fraud and breach of trust in the late 1990s.

Netanyahu is serving his fourth term in office, and his third consecutive one.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu 'quizzed by police under caution' over corruption claims

Opposition leaders were muted in their reaction to the announcement of a criminal investigation. So far, Netanyahu isn't facing pressure within his government to step down, and some allies have accused investigators of a political witch hunt.

Police had announced in a tweet after the interrogation that they had questioned the prime minister at the official residence in Jerusalem.

As the corruption probe into Netanyahu widened Monday with detectives grilling the Israeli leader at his residence in Jerusalem, details emerged that Lauder is part of the investigation and was officially questioned back in October.

The report also said that Netanyahu's associates understand that there are more serious allegations awaiting the Prime Minister, however, they contend that any gifts received by the PM are negligible and given in friendship. He is the first Israeli prime minister to spend time behind bars.

Israel's Channel 2 TV reported Mr Netanyahu accepted "favours" from businessmen in Israel and overseas.

Netanyahu called the investigation "baseless".

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