Netanyahu’s wife admits criminal wrongdoing in meals catering case

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2019   •   1209

Sara Netanyahu | Courtesy : Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, appeared in court on Sunday (June 16) to admit criminal wrongdoing over the misuse of state funds to order catered meals, in a plea bargain carrying no jail time.

“Mrs. Netanyahu was convicted today after pleading guilty in a criminal offense using 175,000 shekels (48,570 USD) of public money for private expenses, and all this happened in the prime minister’s house. This result was achieved through a plea bargain in which she admits and pays a fine of 55,000 shekels (15,265 USD),” said prosecutor Erez Padan.

Under the agreement, a fraud charge was reduced to a lesser offense and she will pay the state 45,000 shekels ($12,490) in reimbursement and a 10,000 shekel ($2,775) fine.

According to the original indictment, Sara Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained from the state more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations that prohibit the practice if a cook is employed at home.

Smiling broadly, Netanyahu faced a phalanx of cameras in the courthouse before the session got underway.

At the hearing, a judge ratified the plea deal, convicting her of the criminal charge of intentionally exploiting another person’s mishandling of state money for her own benefit, after prosecutors dropped the more serious offense of fraud.

“The verdict means that a person with access to the public funds, regardless of how senior they are, cannot treat them as its own. Taking public funds in significant amounts, throughout several years, against the rules and instructions, is a criminal offense that carries conviction and concrete financial punishment,” said prosecutor Jenny Avni. (REUTERS)

Israel’s Supreme Court clears Netanyahu to form government despite corruption charges

UNTV News   •   May 7, 2020

Photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz signing an agreement to form an emergency coalition government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges does not disqualify him from forming a government, Israel’s top court said late on Wednesday (May 6), paving the way for the veteran leader to remain in power.

In its ruling against opposition petitioners, the Supreme Court also found that Netanyahu’s unity government deal with his election rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.

The ruling removes a critical legal hurdle to the coalition government the right-wing Netanyahu and centrist Gantz plan to swear in next week, following three inconclusive elections in the past year.

It also moves the country closer to ending its political deadlock as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

Netanyahu was indicted in January on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing in all three cases. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berklzon, Rami Amichay, Lee Marzel)

NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DA, hinikayat ang mga magsasakang hindi makabenta ng produkto na dumulog sa UNTV

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2020

While farmers from other municipality of Benguet are unfortunate in selling their crops, Mrs. Nida Carantes of Taloy Sur will try her luck on this 15th day of enhanced quarantine (3/30/2020) to sell her sweet peas inside Baguio if the authorities will favor her niece to enter. (Clinton Aniversario/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Department of Agriculture (DA) na tutulungan nito ang mga magsasaka sa pagbebenta ng kanilang mga produkto ngayong umiiral ang enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bunsod ng nararanasang krisis pangkalusugan.

Ito ang tugon ng DA sa panayam ng programang Get It Straight with Daniel Razon nang dumulog sa himpilan ng UNTV ang hog raiser na si Gaudencio Camaclang dahil nahihirapan siyang ialok ang kanyang mga alagang baboy.

Ayon kay DA Spokesperson Noel Reyes, maaring makipag-ugnayan ang mga magsasaka at maging mangingisda sa UNTV upang maiparating sa Kagawaran kung anong uri ng produkto ang kanilang iniaalok at kung saang lugar upang makuha o mailapit sa mga mamimili.

“Iyong mga may kailangang ma-harvest na at walang merkado, tamang tama po iyan dahil maibebenta po natin iyan sa ‘Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’ (stores) dito sa Metro Manila at sa mga urban centers, sa mga villagers,” pagtiyak ng opisyal.

“Ipagbigay-alam lang sa inyong programa kung ano iyong (produkto) saang address, at gaano karami. We’ll link them directly sa mga buyers,” dagdag nito.

Ang mga magsasaka sa Region 4A o sa mga bayan ng Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, at Quezon (CALABARZON) ay maaring makipag-ugnayan kay DA Regional Director Arnel De Mesa sa numerong 09175082455 at 09087574547 upang mapuntahan ang kanilang produkto.

Samantala, sinabi ni Reyes na kinikilala ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED) ang kahalagahan ng food security lalo na sa kasalukuyang hinaharap na health emergency dahil sa banta ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“They approved na dapat kasama sa national security ang food security dahil alam ninyo naman na sa pagdi-distribute pa lang ng pera ay medyo may kaguluhan na. Lalo na kung gutom na ang tao,” saad nito.

Tiniyak ng DA na walang dapat ikabahala ang publiko dahil sapat ang pagkain sa bansa sa kabila ng umiiral na ECQ.

Subalit nakiusap ito sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na huwag harangin ang paghahatid ng mga produktong pagkain upang ang mga ito ay agad na makarating sa mga mamamayan.

“We reiterate na marami po tayong pagkain. Ang naantala lang po ay iyong distribution,” pahayag ng opisyal.

“Kaya nakikiusap kami sa mga LGU sa barangay na kung pagkain ang laman ng dyip o truck ay huwag nang harangin. Let (there be) free flow of goods,” pagtatapos nito.

Sa mga may nais iparating sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno, maaring makipagugnayan sa UNTV Serbisyong Bayanihan sa mga sumusunod na numero:

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