An investigation has been opened into suspicions that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used public funds to install a luxury jacuzzi at his private home at a cost of $15,000.
According to Israel's Channel 12, the investigation is being carried out by the national fraud unit at the request of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and detectives have gathered material and documents from the Prime Minister's Office.
The Netanyahu family flatly denied the report, claiming in a statement that since they bought the home 20 years ago, no jacuzzi has ever been installed.
"And of course the state has not invested even a penny in what was not installed. This is a complete lie," the family said.
It went on to ask whether the accusation was intended to "cover up for the millions of shekels of taxpayers' money that have been invested during this time in the homes of Bennett, Gantz and Lapid", in reference to current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid
He also tweeted that he is filing a libel suit against KAN 11, Channel 12, Channel 13 and reporters Guy Peleg and Aviad Glickman for the sum of 500,000 shekels ($152,670), claiming they published "false" stories and did not ask for comment.
עוד הערב יגיש מטעמי עו״ד יוסי כהן מכתבי תביעה על הוצאת לשון הרע ודיבה נגד הערוצים 12, 13 ו-11, והכתבים גיא פלג ואביעד גליקמן, בסכום כולל של 500,000 שקל. הם פרסמו פרסום שקרי וכלל לא פנו קודם לכן לקבלת את תגובתנו
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 1, 2021
The report comes as Netanyahu awaits trial on various cases related to corruption and breach of trust.
Netanyahu is entangled in four political scandals: Case 1000 which involves allegations that the former PM and his wife accepted illegal gifts from businessmen; Case 2000 which accuses Netanyahu of attempting to buy favourable newspaper coverage; Case 3000, also known as the "submarine scandal" would have seen Israel purchase naval vessels and submarines from a German firm with millions of shekels allegedly "skimmed" off the top of the deals for personal profit; and Case 4000, in which a close associate of Netanyahu is suspected of providing confidential information to Israel's largest telecoms company.