The committee for permits in the state comptroller’s office has allowed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on August 15 – at his own request – to make changes in his investment portfolio, both overseas and locally, in addition to changes made in the beginning of his present term as prime minister in 2009, Globes reported. Netanyahu made his request through attorney David Shomron.
The committee’s decision stated that “It seems that due to drastic changes in the world economy, as well as frequent and significant shifts in investments within Israel, there is a need to allow additional guidelines for the trustee in charge of the blind trust—in accordance with the government’s decision.”
Committee members also pointed out that “it appears that the requested changes are necessary due to changes in the economic reality.”
On October 10 the government will convene to confirm Netanyahu’s request to make the changes in his investment portfolio, after which the comptroller’s permit committee will approve the request.
Netanyahu’s current request comes in the wake of threats by the PM and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in the near future.
Former Joint Chief of Staff Dan Halutz got into hot water when he sold his investment portfolio in the summer of 2006 on the day that the second war in Lebanon broke out. He was badly criticized by the press and the public for what appeared to be his attempt to profit from the shift in political events.
In contrast, Netanyahu’s financial move was done in full transparency and in complete adherence with legal procedure.
There was no reaction from the Prime Minister’s office to the Globes story.
UPDATE: Later today it was publicized that on August 22 Netanyahu decided on his own to pull back his request, in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety.