JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s state prosecutor has ordered police to launch an investigation into Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, over his alleged use of public money to pay for political favors.
The move by Shai Nitzan on Tuesday followed an investigative report by the Israel Television News Company, or Hadashot news, saying that Danon used public funds and donations to pay millions of shekels in fake salaries to Likud activists and their family members so they would support him in the Likud party primaries.
Last week, Israel’s Channels 12 and 13 aired the investigation, which presented recorded conversations and documents, as well as correspondence about finding jobs for family members of Likud members and supporters.
Danon for nearly a decade beginning in 2006 held the position of World Likud chairman, which according to the investigation exerts great influence on appointments and budgets in national institutions.
In that position, he also was in charge of a nongovernmental organization called Osim Tzionut, or Making Zionism, part of the Zionist Council, which is run by a close Danon confidant and through which Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael is accused of funneling large amounts of money starting in 2012, including during the 2014 Likud primaries when Danon was the only challenger for Likud leadership to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“All of Ambassador Danon’s actions in his public roles have always been in accordance with all rules and regulation, and obviously this examination will confirm that as well,” said a statement issued on behalf of Danon.