Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has approved the opening of a full criminal investigation into the financial activities of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid allegations of bribery and fraud.
Netanyahu will be investigated following a nine-month police inquiry into two unspecified matters, and will be summoned to give evidence in the coming days, Israel’s Hebrew-language Channel 10 television network reported.
An unnamed spokeswoman from Israel’s so-called Justice Ministry said in a statement that checks in the matter “are still ongoing and this is neither confirmation nor denial of what has been alleged.”
“The attorney-general, the police and prosecutors are working in close cooperation and a public announcement will be made in due course about the investigation,” she said.
Netanyahu has long been the subject of scrutiny over his financial dealings.
Mandelblit recently ordered an investigation into claims that Netanyahu accepted 1 million euros (about $1.1 million) from accused French fraudster Arnaud Mimran in the form of donations during his 2009 campaign.
In May, Comptroller Yosef Shapira issued a critical report on Netanyahu’s foreign trips, some of which were taken with his wife Sara and children, from 2003 to 2005, when he was the Israeli finance minister.
The Israeli prime minister is also under investigation over the billion-dollar purchase of three submarines from Germany, where media have reported “a serious conflict of interest” on the part of Netanyahu.
Reports emerged last month that Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and one of closest confidants, David Shimron, was representing the German arms manufacturer ThyssenKrupp, which is making the submarines.
Channel 10 later disclosed an email it claimed was proof that Shimron used his close relationship with Netanyahu to lobby for the deal.
A separate probe is also underway in Israel into accusation that Sara Netanyahu misused public funds for private expenses.