Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his attorneys have reached a temporary arrangement for the advanced payment of the latters’ fees, so that they can now accept the investigation materials against their client from Attorney General Mandelblit. Netanyahu’s lawyers had refused to collect the investigation materials against him earlier, claiming they did not receive their wages.
With the investigation materials finally in their possession, the attorneys are finally able to study the findings, including all the testimonies, including state’s witnesses’ testimonies, and prepare a defense for a possible trial.
Netanyahu’s spokesman, Ofer Golan, announced that the prime minister would pay his own fees, explaining that Netanyahu and his lawyers had reached only a temporary arrangement “in order to overcome the initial obstacle of examining the materials for a hearing.” This after the AG had insinuated that he’d be happy to proceed with the indictments without a hearing, if that’s their choice.
“The prime minister insists on his right to receive financial aid for his legal defense, like every public figure, compared with the huge sums that the state spent on his case,” his spokesman declared.
According to Forbes Israel, Netanyahu’s personal worth is estimated at 50 million shekel ($14 million), making him Israel’s fourth richest politician. Former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, his sister Alona Barkat (who ran on the New Right slate), and former PM and DM Ehud Barak are richer.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced on Monday that he had attempted to send the investigation materials to Netanyahu’s attorney Navot Tel Tzur (who also represented former PM Ehud Olmert who ended up serving time), but he refused to accept them, which the Justice Ministry said was “puzzling.” Netanyahu’s lawyers argued that Attorney Tzur was not present in his office at the time of the delivery and therefore was not able to receive the investigation materials.
The Permits Committee in the State Comptroller’s Office has twice rejected Netanyahu’s request to be allowed to raise $2 million in donations from his wealthy friends to pay for his legal defense. The same committee also ordered Netanyahu to return the $300,000 he had already received from his millionaire cousin Natan Milikovsky, who is involved in the Israeli police investigation of Netanyahu’s role in the purchase of submarines from Germany – which so far is not part of the pending cases against the PM.
Netanyahu is currently expected to be indicted for receiving valuable gifts from several billionaires, most notably James Packer and Arnon Milchan; a verbal deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Moses for favorable coverage in exchange for curtailing the business of Yediot’s biggest competitor Israel Hayom; and a deal for good press in exchange for government favors with Shaul Elovitch, owner of the Walla news website as well as Israel’s communications giant Bezeq.