Recipient Unknown

Who Stood Behind Account #831-33748-14-719 to Which Netanyahu Transferred $145,000 in 2002? A Good Question the Prime Minister Refuses to Answer 

Dear Mathew – Please forward to Lehman Brothers in New York the sum of $145,000 from my account at the Royal Bank of Scotland“. The sender: Benjamin Netanyahu. The date: February 3rd, 2002. The recipient of the money: Unknown.

As SwissLeaks-related news keep exposing offshore companies and bank accounts, it is worth remembering that PM Benjamin Netanyahu also held a bank account at a tax haven. Documents related to the account are revealed here for the first time.

jersey2Last year, journalist Lilach Weissman exposed in ‘Globes’ that between the years 1998-2003 Netanyahu held an account at a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the Channel Islands of Jersey, known for their comfy tax regime. During the majority of that time, Netanyahu was off politics, though he returned to hold a public position as Foreign Minister at the end of 2002.

According to Weissman, Netanyahu used this account to pay the  $2,468.45 to Shimron, Molho, Persky & Co. law firm; to transfer $8,000 to the bank account of IDF Colonel (reserves) Yehuar Gal, his Chief of Staff in 2000 and to transfer $1,800 to Aviv Bushinsky, his former spokesperson.

But the biggest amount we know to have transferred from Netanyahu’s account has reached an unknown destination. On February 3rd, 2002, Netanyahu asked “Dear Mathew” from the Royal Bank of Scotland to transfer $145,000 from his account to a client at the Lehman Brothers in New York, identified only by a number.

A numbered account is an account in which the holder is identified with a series of digits instead of a name. That practice, which is now illegal in most of the world,  is done in order to keep the identity of the account holder secret.

A few months after that transfer, Netanyahu was back in the political field. On June 2003 he flew to NYC as Israel’s Finance Minister, where he met the Lehman Brothers management.

I approached to the PM office to ask who stood behind that account and what was the payment for. The PM office refused to answer these questions, stating that “Back in 2002 Mr. Netanyahu was a private citizen. All his actions were done lawfully and he does not owe an explanation on his private actions.”

PM office comments to ‘Globes’, a year ago, stated: “We are talking about an account that has not been active since 2003. In 1999 after Netanyahu’s first term as Prime Minister he made an investment via the account that had no tax advantage over Israel. The accounts and deposits were fully reported to the authorities in Israel including the Israel Tax Authority and were also included in the declaration of wealth filed by Netanyahu with the Israeli authorities.”

Look for the next #Bibistory uncovering the past life of the Prime Minister here on