Menny Naftali, the former man in charge overseeing operations in the Prime Minister’s Residence became the fall guy for the prime minister. After the state comptroller last week released his harsh report citing gross overspending in the PM’s Residence, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office explained the problem was with Naftali, who has since been ousted and replaced and the following years show a sharp reduction in spending.
Naftali however has decided he is unwilling to play the role of scapegoat in this case and he promises he will show documentation placing the blame for the exorbitant spending where it belongs. This has prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to hire one of Israel’s most prominent attorneys, Yaakov Weinroth, amid the reality that he and/or Mrs. Sara Netanyahu may face a criminal investigation into the exaggerated spending.
Channel 2 News has reported the state is more than happy to enlist Naftali’s cooperation and has granted him immunity in exchange for his testimony. The report states that Naftali gathered the documents to protect himself while still employed and some of these documents have already been turned over to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who must weigh if a criminal indictment will follow. It is reported that the Netanyahus regularly used state funds for private affairs in violation of the law.
Attorney Weinroth gained considerable notoriety when defending the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the 1990s, when Sharon faced fraud charges. Weinroth has also represented other notables including former Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson, who did not fare as well as Sharon since he was convicted and imprisoned for fraud and embezzlement.
Naftali has gone on the offensive and his attorneys have filed a 1.1 million libel suit against the Netanyahus for publically naming him as being responsible for the gross overspending in the Prime Minister’s Residence. He also denies that he was dismissed from his position, stating he resigned.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)