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Former Netanyahu chief of staff grilled on suspicions against PM
Ari Harow, a longtime adviser and campaign manager for the PM and Likud, detained by police upon landing at Ben Gurion
Ari Harow, former chief of staff of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a Likud meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Ari Harow was detained by police at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday morning and taken in for questioning, reportedly in connection with a corruption investigation against the prime minister.
In December, he was questioned by police under caution for a “range” of offenses he was suspected to have committed while working in the Prime Minister’s Office. But on Thursday, investigators in the Israel Police’s 433 high-profile crimes interrogated Harow about suspected corruption by Netanyahu himself, Israel Radio reported.
The Los Angeles-born Harow was appointed chief of staff of the PMO in 2014, serving there for a year before leaving to run the 2015 election campaign for Netanyahu’s Likud party.
He first worked for Netanyahu as foreign affairs adviser during his spell as leader of the opposition. He then spearheaded the 2009 election campaign that catapulted Netanyahu back to office. Following the election, he served as the prime minister’s bureau chief until 2010, managing the prime minister’s schedule and advising him on a range of issues.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flanked by former chief of staff Ari Harow (left) and former parliamentary adviser Perach Lerner as he arrives at a Likud faction meeting in the Israeli parliament, November 24, 2014. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)
In 2010, between his stints in the PMO, Harow founded 3H Global, an international government relations firm based in Israel. According to the company’s website, the firm was founded “to help governments, NGOs and businesses.”
The website says Harow “utilizes his outstanding professional experience to reach the highest levels of government, community and philanthropy in order to help achieve this goal. His intricate knowledge of the synergy between government, media and other stakeholders helps give clients a competitive edge.”
When Harow was appointed Netanyahu’s chief of staff he gave up control of the company to his brother, Josh Harow, who currently serves as its chief financial officer.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit acknowledged Sunday that he had ordered a probe into allegations against Netanyahu. The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing and predicted the probe will be closed.
According to reports, the attorney general is examining suspicions of money laundering involving the prime minister and an unnamed senior Justice Ministry official, among others.
On Saturday, Channel 2 reported that the allegations were linked to the transfer of “large sums” of money to one of Netanyahu’s family members “for non-political purposes.”
According to a Channel 10 report, the police probe — not yet a full-blown investigation — could implicate the prime minister and a senior official in the justice system in “large-scale” corruption.
Police officials may yet travel abroad to conduct financial and legal examinations into Netanyahu’s dealings there, reports said.