The State Comptroller's Office Permissions Committee announced today that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must return $30,000 that he received from his cousin Nathan Milikowsky to finance his legal defense in his trial on corruption charges. The committee decided, however, that Netanyahu need not return $270,000 that he received for the legal defense of his wife, Sara Netanyahu, in the case involving expenses at the prime minister's residences.
The committee also said that it would not consider any renewed application by the prime minister to be allowed to accept NIS 10 million from his associate Spencer Partrich to finance his defense. The committee took this position in the light of an opinion from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit released earlier this week stating that the money represented an illegal payment. Mandelblit wrote that "it cannot be determined that the receipt of this sum by the prime minister from Partrich does not amount to a gift to him as a public servant."
Mandelblit was fiercely attacked for this opinion by the prime minister and his associates, who said that he had formulated his position as part of his "coup conspiracy." Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz rose to Mandelblit's defense, saying that he was fulfilling his role.
Even after the decision to indict him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies the charges against him, has not been convicted of any crime, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 2, 2020
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