Israel's Netanyahu to be questioned over 'graft'

Premier alleged to have sought positive media coverage through favours to telecommunications giant Bezeq

Afp February 26, 2018
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to be questioned as a suspect in a further case of alleged corruption and as a witness in another, Israeli media reported Sunday.

The police, who have questioned the prime minister seven times since the beginning of 2017, in mid-February recommended the premier be indicted for graft, fraud and breach of trust in two other cases.

The cases have fuelled speculation he could be forced to step down or call an early election.

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

Public radio and television on Sunday reported he would be questioned on Friday as a suspect in alleged attempts to seek positive media coverage through favours to telecommunications giant Bezeq.

He would also face interrogation as a witness in suspected corruption around Israel's purchase of three submarines from German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp.

A police spokesperson could not immediately confirm the reports.

The Bezeq case involves the main shareholder of Israel's top communications group, Shaul Elovitch and his wife, as well as group CEO Stella Handler and four others who were arrested in mid-February.

According to press reports, investigators are focusing on allegations that Shaul Elovitch, Bezeq's controlling shareholder, gave Netanyahu positive coverage on his Walla! news site in exchange for policies benefiting the business.

Shlomo Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and former director general of the communications ministry, is expected to agree to turn state witness in exchange for avoiding jail, according to Israeli media reports confirmed by police.

A gag order prevented publishing any details of the deal.

Israel police recommend indicting Netanyahu in graft cases

Filber is suspected of mediating between Netanyahu and Elovitch and promoting regulatory changes worth millions to Bezeq.

The police on Sunday also extended the custody of Eli Kamir, a communications adviser suspected of being involved in the Bezeq case.

Kamir is also suspected, alongside Nir Hefetz, a fellow former media adviser to the Netanyahu family, of offering a judge promotion in exchange for dropping a case against the premier's wife over alleged misuse of public funds.

The police have already recommended Netanyahu's indictment in two cases.

In one, he and family members are suspected of receiving one million shekels ($285,000, 230,000 euros) of luxury cigars, champagne and jewellery from wealthy personalities in exchange for financial or personal favours.

In the other case, investigators suspect the premier of trying to reach an agreement with the owner of Yediot Aharonot, a top Israeli daily newspaper, for more favourable coverage.

The decision on whether or not to indict him now rests with the attorney general.


ishrat salim | 5 years ago | Reply Nawaz Shaif Sb & PML N supporters, should read this article / news. Islaeli Ex president Mr Olmert also faced jailed on corruption charges as soon as he left presidency. Till Mr Olmert was a president, criminal investigation was in progress & as soon he left the presidency he was charged & jailed Mr Olmert never said " hame kiu pakra " ? nor his party made all kinds of allegations against their judiciary. When are we going to become a civilized nation & face the truth ?
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