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Expanded authorities. Lindenstrauss Photo: Gil Yohanan
Expanded authorities. Lindenstrauss Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Bibi and wife Sara (archives) Photo: GPO
Bibi and wife Sara (archives) Photo: GPO
 
 

Comptroller announces probe into 'Bibi tours' scandal

After receiving exceptional authorities from State Control Committee, Lindenstrauss' office says will look into alleged ethical violations by PM

Aviad Glickman
Published: 03.31.11, 17:42 / Israel News

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss announced Thursday afternoon that he will look into allegations that some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trips abroad were funded by private businessmen.

  

The comptroller said he plans to investigate "the funding of trips by private agents in contrast with guidelines for the prevention of conflict of interests for ministers and their deputies."

 

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PM: Improper funding allegations 'baseless' / Roni Sofer
Amid allegations that Netanyahu's trips abroad were funded by private businessmen, Lindenstrauss tells Knesset 'it is improper for public figures to travel at the expense of donors and philanthropists.' PM: Organized smear campaign
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A Channel 10 report this week claimed that the PM accepted funding from private businessmen for trips for himself and his family while in public office.

 

Lindenstrauss and his aides will also look into allegations that Netanyahu illegally obtained campaign donations.

 

On Wednesday the Knesset's State Control Committee gave Lindenstrauss' office exceptional authorities in investigating the alleged ethical violations by Netanyahu regarding overseas travel expenses.

 

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, called the committee's decision "underhanded" and urged Lindenstrauss to “return” the exceptional authorizations.

 

Speaking to Ynet from Hong Kong Thursday, Rivlin said the process in which Lindenstrauss was granted the exceptional authorities lacked "transparency".

 

The Knesset speaker said he did not receive ample notice that the State Control Committee was convening. "Even if (committee chairman) Yoel Hasson did not mean it, I got the sense that my innocence was taken advantage of," Rivlin said.

 

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's office has withdrawn its special request to install a double bed on the plane taking the prime minister and his wife to Berlin and Prague in about a week.

 

Installing the bed would have raising the trip's cost by tens of thousands of dollars.

 

 

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