Tel Aviv- After weeks of perplexity, the Israeli Attorney General ordered a probe into investigation into the claim made by a French businessman against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he has received 1 million euros ($1,135,600) for his electoral campaign, a sum far above legal limits.
Despite that Netanyahu’s Royal Court denies that he received illegal funding from French Jewish businessman, Arnaud Mimran, and says that every claim in this matter is baseless, yet the decision to investigate in this matter has raised noticeable anger and tension in the court.
Meanwhile, this case brings hopes for Netanyahu’s rivals, who wish he falls this time and get punished for his illegal acts.
Mimran submitted his claims in Paris courtroom where he’s being tried for fraud amounting up to hundreds millions of dollars.
Since the French businessman made his statements and the Israeli media is following up the case and the judicial parties to investigate in this matter; at the time when Netanyahu remains silent, and people close to him deny any relation between him and Mimran.
Notably, Israeli law limits individual campaign contributions to NIS 11,480 (€2,670), and the candidates for the premiership are not allowed to mobilize funds for more than NIS 45,880 from the same funder.
On Monday, Netanyahu issued a statement saying Mimran contributed $40,000 in 2001 to a fund that paid for his “public diplomacy travels for the benefit of the state of Israel.” Netanyahu did not hold any elective office at that time, thus this is not considered a violation for the law.
For his part, Netanyahu’s lawyer and long-time close associate David Shimron rejected the claims, saying that the allegations would be “proved as baseless and unfounded.”
“As the person who ran the fund for Mr. Netanyahu’s public activities when he was a private citizen, I can say with complete certainty that the exact amount that was transferred by Mimran was $40,000. The amount was transferred to the account of the fund on August 24, 2001,” he said in a statement.
Justice Ministry spokeswoman said Sunday that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had ordered an examination of Mimran’s testimony “immediately after he became aware of it.” The statute of limitations for such crimes in Israel is 10 years, effectively ruling out criminal prosecution.