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US withholding details, delaying probe into Israel PM

US President Donald Trump (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, on 15 February, 2017 [REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque]
US President Donald Trump (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, on 15 February, 2017 [REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque]

Israeli law enforcement officials are not being provided information they've requested from the US regarding share deals made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a company owned by his cousin, reported Haaretz.

The intelligence that was requested several months ago is supposed to help Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decide if a criminal investigation should be opened into Netanyahu's activities.

According to a source familiar with the request: "There is no evidence that the delay in receiving answers is politically motivated, but it is certainly exceptional and makes one wonder."

The inquiries relate to Netanyahu's sale of the shares in SeaDrift, a Texas-based company making products for the steel industry, which was owned by his cousin, Nathan Milikowsky.

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In February, an Israeli government comptroller report revealed Netanyahu's previous holdings in SeaDrift.

The news came as the comptroller's office denied Netanyahu's request to retroactively approve a $300,000 loan from Milikowsky to finance his legal battles.

Natanyahu is currently on trial in three separate cases involving bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Ha'aretz published a report that revealed Netanyahu bought 1.6 per cent of SeaDrift's shares in August 2007 for $600,000, when he was the head of the country's parliamentary opposition, and sold them for $4.3 million 2010, when he was prime minister.

According to a source familiar with the case: "The answers from the United States are meant to help Mendelblit understand whether in the story of the purchase and sale of the shares there's a suspicion of criminal violations by Netanyahu, or whether the issue doesn't warrant an investigation."

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The Trump administration has previously prevented Israeli authorities from taking testimony from former Secretary of State John Kerry and former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro regarding one of the cases, a lavish gifts case known as Case 1000.

US President Donald Trump has blindly supported Netanyahu and his policies and justified all his crimes against the Palestinians and their rights.

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