, JERUSALEM, Mar 2 – Israel’s state comptroller said on Friday it has questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over lavish private trips he made abroad that were financed by businessmen.
“The prime minister was questioned on Monday by the comptroller’s services at his office in Jerusalem,” said Shlomo Raz, a spokesman for the service, confirming a report in the Haaretz newspaper.
“We are in the middle of an investigation and are analysing items provided to us by the prime minister’s judicial advisers,” he said, without being able to give a timeframe for the probe.
Haaretz said Netanyahu was questioned in secret for more than two hours over an affair which broke out almost a year ago after an investigation by a private television station, Channel 10.
According to Haaretz, the questioning was the final phase of the investigation before Netanyahu is presented with the comptroller’s report “in a month or two.”
The disclosure came as Netanyahu prepared to meet in Washington on Monday with US President Barack Obama.
Last April, public radio said the prime minister was suing Channel 10 over its allegation that businessmen had paid for lavish trips for him and his family at a time he was a cabinet minister.
Israel’s state comptroller said he would launch an investigation into whether the funding for the trips contravened “accepted norms of conflict of interest for ministers.”
The alleged incidents occurred when Netanyahu was an MP and cabinet minister and do not relate to his premiership.