Police Questions Netanyahu in Telecom Corruption Case

Michele Moreno
March 5, 2018

Investigators questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Friday as part of their ongoing corruption investigation.

Investigators questioned Netanyahu at his residence in Jerusalem for five hours Friday morning, marking the eighth time the Israeli leader has been questioned in graft probes targeting him and his inner circle. In return, Bezeq's news site, Walla, allegedly provided positive Netanyahu coverage.

The prime minister is involved in the case because he was also serving as communications minister at the time the benefits were said to have been granted to Elovitch.

However, Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and charges the allegations are part of a witch-hunt by the media and "the left".

The firm has denied wrongdoing.

A representative for Elovitch had no immediate comment and Hefetz's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Filber, the former director of the Communications Ministry under Netanyahu, was arrested on suspicion of promoting favorable regulation to Bezeq in return for Walla's alleged favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his family. The final decision on both cases could take months.

"Tendentious and lying leaks against Mrs. Netanyahu are meant to hurt the prime minister and the Likud government". Some cars beeped their horns in support as they drove by.

The rightwing prime minister has been Israel's dominant political figure for a generation, in power since 2009 and for 12 years in total since 1996. He has said he will seek a fifth term in a national election due in late 2019.

According to the police recommendation, Case 1000 involves gifts of cigars and jewellery that the prime minister and his wife are suspected of receiving from billionaire benefactors such as Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian business executive James Packer.

In September 2017 the attorney general informed Sara Netanyahu he was likely to indict her over the claims.

In Case 2000, police say Netanyahu negotiated with the owner of an Israeli newspaper for more favorable coverage in exchange for hampering the circulation of a rival paper.

So far, partners in Netanyahu's governing coalition have stood by him, saying they were awaiting the attorney-general's next moves.

Under official protocol, the interview with the prime minister took place at his residence in Jerusalem, while Sara Netanyahu's interview occurred at the police investigation headquarters.

"I want to tell you all that I am confident that there will be nothing", Netanyahu said, referring to his previous statements on the investigations against him: "There will be nothing - because there was nothing".

Other reports by Insurance News

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