Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife reportedly pocketed thousands of shekels in cash from deposits of bottles during the couple's second term in office, which began in 2009, a report in Haaretz said Thursday.
The report further claimed that in 2009 the Netanyahus had returned some $1000 to the state – which legally owned the empty bottles and thus the deposit as well – though the actual value of the cash is between $5,000-$6,000.
Meanwhile, in wake of the reports, Ynet has learned that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein knew of the incident over two and a half years ago and passed it onto the State Comptroller, who claims he returned the issue to the attorney general.
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In wake of the reports, dozens of political activists from V-15 – a non-partisan group calling for a high voter turnout in the hopes of ousting Netanyahu – protested outside the Likud's headquarters, piling up bags of old bottles and waving signs that read: "Take them and go!"
What pushed the relatively old story to the headlines was the testimony of a disgruntled former Prime Minister Residence employee who recently told courts that the amount the couple owed the state for the bottle deposits was thousands of shekels higher than the sum they.
According to Meni Naftali, the employee, Sara Netanyahu would send the bottles to recycling once every two weeks for 250 NIS – or NIS 6,000 a year – while the Netanyahu returned only $1,000 for 2009-2013 – or $250 per year – some $5,000 less than what they should have paid.
According to Haaretz, in response to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office said in response that: “In May 2013, the Netanyahus transferred $1,000 to the accounting department of the Prime Minister’s Office on their own initiative. The above-mentioned amount matches the estimates by the account there, based on the consumption of bottles of drinks in the official residence since April 2009. The check was deposited in the bank account of the Prime Minister’s Office.”
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira says he has returned the case to the attorney general, who is now mulling a possible renewed investigation.