Ex-Netanyahu Aide Sent to House Arrest After 14-hour Interrogation

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) is flanked by bodyguards and unidentified aides upon his arrival at the Knesset for a meeting of the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Jerusalem on June 1, 2009. Netanyahu vowed on May 31 there would be no let-up in Israel's much-criticised …

The Times of Israel reports: After an early-morning detention by police upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff was questioned under caution by the police’s high profile anti-fraud unit for over 14 hours Thursday before being released to house arrest.

Ari Harow was originally held to give testimony over a probe into suspicions surrounding Netanyahu’s campaign fundraising abroad, but investigators later decided to interrogate him under caution, signaling that he is being treated as a suspect, according to Hebrew media reports.

Being questioned under caution usually indicates that the person in the hot seat is considered a possible suspect and may face prosecution. Police said the questioning was over suspicions of fraud as part of another “probe” they are carrying out. Harow, who holds dual US-Israeli citizenship, will be kept under house arrest for five days.

On Sunday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit acknowledged that he had ordered a preliminary probe into allegations leveled at Netanyahu, but rejected “inaccurate” media reports about the nature of the suspicions.

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. Netanyahu denied any wrongdoing and predicted the probe would be closed with no charges filed.

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