PM’s Expense Report to be Published in Wake of ‘Bottle-Gate’

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira announced Monday night that the expenditure report of the Prime Minister's Residence will be published in two weeks. 

He stressed that any improprieties or criminal misconduct would be included and mentioned. 

The report, which will be published on February 17 – exactly one month before elections for the 20th Knesset – is expected to further stir up the election campaign and the controversy surrounding "Bottle-gate." 

Haaretz reported at the end of last week that during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's second term as prime minister from 2009 to 2013, his wife Sarah Netanyahu collected a vast amount of empty bottles bought by the premier's office and returned them to supermarkets, pocketing the money herself.

Over several years, the Netanyahus, through this practice, earned at least 4,000 shekels of what should have been public money, the report alleged.

Netanyahu and the Prime Minister's Residence are also accused of spending around 100,000 shekels ($25,000) on alcohol over the past two years. 

Many MKs were up in arms over the allegations throughout this past weekend with both Labor-Hatnua Chairpersons Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni using the rumors to fuel their latest criticism of the Prime Minister. 

The State Comptroller specifically informed Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein of the upcoming publication of the report.

Weinstein called for Shapira on Sunday to make the report public in light of the claims against the Prime Minister's Residence. He also requested to be kept informed about the process should any legal action need to be taken. 

"The Attorney General wants to know where things stand regarding the claims," a statement from Weinstein's office read. 

The Prime Minister and Likud Chairman responded to the announcement, saying "We will refer to the expenditure statement when it is published – and it proves everything was done legally." 

"The media has conducted a timed and orchestrated campaign, intended to terrorize the State Comptroller and Attorney General, in order to bring down the Likud government headed by Netanyahu." 

"We will not allow this political campaign to divert public attention from the main topic at hand – who protects Israel's security." 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/190840

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