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Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg, Reuters
Benjamin Netanyahu and Shlomit Barnea-Fargo
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg, Reuters

PM's Office legal advisor claims mistreatment after denying expense requests

Attorney Shlomit Barnea-Fargo says she was treated with hostility by Prime Minister Netanyahu when denying frivolous purchases and repairs for his family's private residence.

Attorney Shlomit Barnea-Fargo, the legal advisor of the Prime Minister’s Office, revealed in a police testimony that the Netanyahu family has often submitted requests for private purchases and house repairs that cost large amounts of money, Channel 2 News reported Tuesday.

 

 

In her testimony she said that during Ehud Olmert’s term in office, his family had a private apartment in Tel Aviv, and Barnea-Fargo claims she does not recall special requests regarding Olmert’s private property being submitted.

 

“During Olmert’s term in office, the amount of requests and their nature were very slight or infinitely limited, as opposed to the demands and requests of the Netanyahu family,” said the legal advisor.

 

Benjamin Netanyahu and Shlomit Barnea-Fargo (Photo: Mark Israel Salem)
Benjamin Netanyahu and Shlomit Barnea-Fargo (Photo: Mark Israel Salem)
 

Barnea-Fargo also said in her testimony that “when I refused Olmert’s requests, his response wasn't hostile. When I didn’t approve several Netanyahu’s expenses in a row, there were people in his office who made the Netanyahu family believe that I wasn’t approving various request on purpose, and I was treated with hostility, often by the prime minister himself.

 

“I often had to deal with attempts to circumvent procedures, and with the need to constantly monitor the validity of the requests, and when I denied them, I was treated as someone who does not cooperate. The number of expense requests I’ve received over the years is enormous,” she continued.

 

“You can see it in various protocols of the Committee of Three and of various meetings in the Prime Minister’s Office...and I believe there are many other requests that didn’t make their way to me,” she added.

 

Channel 10 News published a transcript of a conversation between Netanyahu's former media advisor who later turned state’s witness, Nir Hefetz, and Barnea-Fargo. The focus of the conversation was the employment of electrician Avi Fahima with an emphasis on the events of Yom Kippur.

 

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit decided there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Sara Netanyahu was aware of the fact that Avi Fahima was employed illegally.

 

Ezra Seidoff, Sara Netanyahu and Avi Pahima (Photo: AP, Amit Shabi)
Ezra Seidoff, Sara Netanyahu and Avi Pahima (Photo: AP, Amit Shabi)

 

The two spoke about the outrageous sums spent on Fahima’s employment between September and November of 2017. Barnea-Fargo expressed her concerns that it might be a criminal offense since one of Fahima’s visits was fictitiously reported to have taken place on Yom Kippur.

 

At this stage Hefetz proposes how Fahima’s visit on Yom Kippur could be verified. “There are security cameras. You see who’s coming or going on Yom Kippur.”

 

“Excellent. You have a creative mind,” replied Barnea-Fargo

 

The transcripts also reveal that the two were trying to understand the reason behind the family’s engagement with Fahima.

 

“I believe the reason is payment and I think that she (Sara Netanyahu) simply doesn’t allow Prime Minister’s Office employees enter the house (in Caesarea) on the weekends,” asserted the legal advisor.

 

Prime Minister's Residence in Caesarea (Photo: Shaul Golan)
Prime Minister's Residence in Caesarea (Photo: Shaul Golan)

 

Former deputy director-general of the Prime Minister's Office Ezra Saidoff, who was indicted along with Sara Netanyahu, said in his police testimony that prime minister’s wife was the one who insisted on employing Pahima at their home in Caesarea .

 

Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson said in response, “The witch hunt, which the prime minister and his wife are dealing with on a daily basis, will not deter him from doing the important things he does for the country and its security.

 

“The Netanyahu family has never asked for their private bills to be paid by the state. We will not participate in their systematic festival of leaks. The Netanyahu family has always acted in accordance with the law,” the response concluded.

 

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 06.28.18, 09:21
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