Netanyahu to be questioned over 'BibiTours'

State Comptroller's office members to hold hearing of PM next week, over nearly 5-year-old allegations of wasting state funds on travel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Binyamin and Sarah Netanyahu board a plane in 2009
Binyamin and Sarah Netanyahu board a plane in 2009
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to be questioned sometime next week by members of the office of State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, over the nearly five-year-old case of Netanyahu's travel spending habits that has been dubbed "BibiTours" by the media.

Shapira's office is preparing to publish a report over the rumors of the Netanyahu family's improper spending on state-funded trips during his time as head of the Opposition and Finance Minister.

It was revealed on Thursday that officials in Shapira's office will be paying a visit to Netanyahu's office next week to question the prime minister over the matter. Netanyahu asked that the hearing take place, apparently out of a desire to close the case.

Work on the report by the State Comptroller's office began under the previous Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss. That work was renewed in 2014, after State Attorney Yehuda Weinstein ruled there was no grounds for a criminal investigation over the allegations.

Israeli media began to put the Netanyahu family's spending under the microscope in 2011, after a Channel 10 reporter published an expose alleging that the prime minister and his wife used to double-bill their expenses on foreign excursions.

One main aspect of the investigation - and the only piece of concrete evidence Weinstein referred to in his 2014 report - was a 2006 flight to and from the US, for which both a private organization and the Knesset were asked to foot Netanyahu's bill.

However, Weinstein clarified in 2014 that the specific flight was double-billed due to time considerations, not as an intentional skirting of Knesset protocol - and for that reason Sarah Netanyahu's ticket was issued under a different bill from the prime minister's.

Rather than legal action against Netanyahu, it is Channel 10 which has suffered over the expose, as the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) sued the news site for libel for a sum of 3.5 million shekel ($972,000) back in 2011.

Netanyahu's wife Sarah is also currently being investigated over allegations of taking official gifts and keeping them for herself, as well as a number of other alleged financial improprieties.