Middle East

Israeli watchdog report slams Netanyahu over travel expenses

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, looks on during a faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, May 23, 2016. Israel's leader on Monday reiterated his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, seeking to persuade critics that he remains committed to peace as he prepares to bring a polarizing hardliner into his Cabinet. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, looks on during a faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, May 23, 2016. Israel's leader on Monday reiterated his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, seeking to persuade critics that he remains committed to peace as he prepares to bring a polarizing hardliner into his Cabinet. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)  (The Associated Press)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, looks on during a faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, May 23, 2016. Israel's leader on Monday reiterated his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, seeking to persuade critics that he remains committed to peace as he prepares to bring a polarizing hardliner into his Cabinet. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, looks on during a faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, May 23, 2016. Israel's leader on Monday reiterated his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, seeking to persuade critics that he remains committed to peace as he prepares to bring a polarizing hardliner into his Cabinet. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)  (The Associated Press)

Israel's government watchdog has released a lengthy report detailing a "fear of criminality" over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's travel expenses before he took office.

The state comptroller's report Tuesday said some of Netanyahu's foreign trips when he was finance minister between 2003 and 2005 were financed by private donors, creating the impression of bribery and conflict of interests. The report said Netanyahu did not properly report these contributions and flight expenses were "double-billed." It also accused the Netanyahu family of "lack of clarity" over its accounting and using bonus points accrued by the state for private use.

A lawyer for Netanyahu says the prime minister acted properly and there was nothing criminal.

The same watchdog last year detailed alleged excessive spending at Netanyahu residences, leading to an investigation.