The former chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taken in for questioning by Israel authorities Thursday morning after he arrived at Ben Gurion Airport.
Ari Harrow, who served as the premier’s top adviser in 2014, was asked by Israel Police’s National Fraud Investigators Unit to voluntarily give a statement concerning alleged financial abuses reportedly connected to Netanyahu, according to Channel 2.
Police emphasized that Harrow was not arrested or being investigated, but was called in to give testimony.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced earlier this week that he had ordered an initial probe of Netanyahu as part of a wider unspecified investigation.
Mandelblit said he made the dramatic decision after reviewing, along with State Attorney Shai Nitzan, evidence from the police intelligence unit.
Though Mandelblit’s statement tried to underplay the gravitas of the announcement, the prime minister’s rivals have said a probe could mark the beginning of Netanyahu’s downfall.
Earlier Sunday, Channel 10 reported that Mandelblit and Nitzan were meeting to make decisions about an initial review of alleged money-laundering by Netanyahu.
A spokesman for the Netanyahus said: “As in all past instances when allegations were made with reference to the prime minister like a passing distraction, here, too, there will be nothing – because there is nothing.”
Allegations of a new major probe against Netanyahu, separate from the “Bibi Tours” and other previously known affairs, have been swirling around for several days. But no specifics have been confirmed.
Mandelblit’s statement slammed the media for misreporting the allegations against Netanyahu, but did not even hint at their true content. Rather, it only confirmed an initial probe and denied that a criminal investigation is in place.
Harow himself has been the subject of a police investigation since late last year and was questioned under caution for “range of offenses” in December 2015 including suspicions of breach of trust and fraud.
Harow, who was born in Los Angeles in 1973 and made aliya with his family in 1985, was appointed chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s in 2014, serving in the position for roughly one year before leaving to run Netanyahu’s successful reelection campaign.
A former IDF soldier, Harow has served Netanyahu in different capacities for the past 15 years, including as a foreign affairs adviser and scheduler.