Ronald Lauder questioned by Israel Police in Netanyahu fraud inquiry

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Police questioned Ronald Lauder in connection with a fraud investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while the World Jewish Congress president was in Israel for the funeral of Shimon Peres.

Lauder was called by the special investigations unit of the Israel Police to give testimony about Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, following the funeral last Friday, according to reports. Lauder and the Netanyahus reportedly are close friends, and Lauder has hosted the Netanyahus on several occasions.

The police request for Lauder’s testimony was first reported Tuesday night by Israel’s Channel 2.

Lauder reportedly said he would cooperate with the police investigation.

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Since the current inquiry process is in its preliminary stages and not a full criminal investigation, the police could not travel outside of Israel to question anyone. The police waited for Lauder to enter the country in order to question him, Ynet reported.

Netanyahu repeatedly has denied any wrongdoing.

In July, Ari Harow, a California-born former chief of staff of Netanyahu, was held under house arrest in Israel for a week in connection with the investigation. Harow had been detained for questioning at Ben Gurion Airport and questioned for 14 hours in connection with suspected financial violations.