Confidant of Israel's Netanyahu turns state's witness in corruption case

PM's close associate pledges to expose fraud by government and telecom groups


Reuters February 21, 2018
Close associate pledges to expose fraud by government and telecom groups PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to provide testimony on behalf of the state about alleged corrupt dealings between the government and the country's biggest telecoms group, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

Shlomo Filber, who was arrested this week along with top executives at Bezeq Telecom, had been a personal appointment of Netanyahu's to head the Communications Ministry.

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Police now suspect Bezeq received regulatory benefits, and
in return, Netanyahu received favourable media coverage on a
popular news website that is also controlled by Bezeq's former
chairperson.

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The Bezeq executives have denied the allegations. Israel's Ynet news website reported that Filber has now agreed to testify for the state in the case, a development that could further complicate things for Netanyahu as he battles mounting corruption allegations.

Israeli authorities were not immediately available to confirm that a deal with Filber had been reached.

On Tuesday, police alleged that Netanyahu's former spokesperson
tried to bribe a judge to drop a fraud case against Netanyahu's
wife. Netanyahu himself is suspect in two other investigations.

The right-wing leader, in office for 12 years since 1996, has denied wrongdoing in any of the cases, calling them a political "witch hunt".

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