Published On: Sun, Feb 24th, 2019

Netanyahu request to raise $2 million for legal protection – rejected

The prime minister was also instructed to return $300,000 he received from his cousin, as well as suits he received as a gift (or their value) to a businessman. Likud: "In order to form a left-wing government of Lapid-Ganz,

Benjamin Netanyahu

The State Comptroller’s Permit Committee rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s second request to authorize him to raise $2 million from two of his associates, cousin Natan Milikovsky and businessman Spencer Partridge, to finance his legal representation, according to a statement issued Sunday morning by the comptroller’s office to the prime minister’s lawyers.

The committee also determined that the prime minister was required to return $300,000 raised from his cousin Milikovsky and suits he received from Partridge businessman.

The members of the permit committee stated that “the Attorney General expressed his opinion that if the Committee rejects the request to reconsider the Prime Minister’s request, the Prime Minister will be required to repay to Mr. Milikovsky the amounts he already paid.

The Prime Minister must, therefore, return the said amounts with the submission of evidence, to the satisfaction of the State Comptroller and the Attorney General, and on a schedule to be determined. ”

As for the suits that Netanyahu received from the businessman Partridge, it was stated that “we believe that the applicant should return the suits to the giver. But if he has already made use of suits and their return is impossible, so that the applicant can leave the suits in his hands. However,  he will have to return the value of the suits to their neighbor or pay the Equal to a worthy cause to be determined. ”

The Committee noted that “the applicant’s capital declarations indicate that the applicant is a well-to-do person, and is therefore required to prove, in accordance with previous decisions of the committee, that he has exhausted his self-financing abilities before turning to donations. ”

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In December, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that the prime minister would not be able to receive  $2 million in funding for his legal protection through his cousin Milikovsky and businessman Partridge.

The permit committee, headed by retired District Court Judge Awni Habash, noted at the time that the decision to reject Netanyahu’s request that “it is inappropriate for wealthy people to finance court expenses stemming from a criminal investigation that includes suspicion of criminal acts in connection with financiers.”

Members of the committee also determined that such funding “may harm the public’s trust in the integrity of the government’s representatives.” The decision of the permits committee was final and can only be appealed to the High Court of Justice in the background, noting that during the hearing, the comptroller was not aware that Netanyahu had already received $300,000 from his cousin Milikovsky. The money he received as a donation.

Last month, Shapira appealed to the permits committee in an unusual manner, and asked to convene again to hear the arguments of attorney Navot Tel-Zur, the prime minister’s attorney, who relied on a clause allowing him to turn to the committee in a case where “circumstances have changed significantly” Who came to a decision.

The comptroller further noted that “the rules of natural justice and administrative law oblige the committee to convene and enable the applicant to make his arguments, as he explicitly requested, and only afterward to accept its decision, in accordance with case law and balancing all interests.”

The members of the permits committee told the comptroller that they were proposing an internal discussion with the State Comptroller and the legal advisor, in which they would discuss how to deal with the request. “For the avoidance of doubt, it is emphasized that our proposal to hold an internal discussion and our consent to participate in such a discussion does not constitute any other agreement, opening an opening or any promise regarding the very matter, and certainly not consent to hearing the request on its own merits.”

Netanyahu’s lawyers: “scandalous decision”

Netanyahu’s lawyers reacted harshly, saying that “this is an unprecedented decision that violates fundamental principles … It is inconceivable that the prime minister be deprived of the basic right to legal protection given to every member of Knesset.” They announced that they would petition the High Court of Justice” against the scandalous decision.”

Netanyahu’s party, the Likud, also harshly reacted. “In order to form a left-wing government of Lapid-Ganz, they are not afraid of any means, including depriving Prime Minister Netanyahu of his right to finance his legal defense, a basic right given to every Knesset member. Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev told the weekly cabinet meeting that this was a “delusional decision.”

Ynet News

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