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Netanyahu confident nothing will come of investigations after police questioning

03 March, 2018, 06:28 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara will be asked about their relationship with the owner of a telecom company

Protestors shout slogans during a demonstration outside the Israeli Prime Minister's residency in Jerusalem March 2, 2018.

His wife, Sara, was questioned at the same time regarding the case in an effort to prevent the obstruction of justice, local media reported. The police haven't yet ascertained whether the first lady is also a suspect, the spokeswomen said.

On Saturday the prime minister leaves on a week-long diplomatic trip to the United States, where he will attend the annual policy conference of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and meet with US President Donald Trump.

The firm has denied wrongdoing.

This week, Prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh, from the Assets Authority of Israel, assured in relation to Case 4000 that Netanyahu is in the heart of "a very serious case about giving and receiving bribes".

Netanyahu is also linked to two other corruption cases, including another investigation into a bribery case for favorable news coverage in an Israeli newspaper.

Netanyahu and his wife Sara spent 5 hours on Friday being interrogated by police unit Lahav 433 concerning their involvement in Case 4000.

Israeli police assert that Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch had instructed the Walla news website, which is fully owned by the telecom company, to provide favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his wife in return for favors from communications regulators.

A final case, dubbed 3000, is being investigated separately and has involved Netanyahu allies, but the prime minister has not been named as a suspect.

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

Shlomo Filber, the former director-general of the Communications Ministry and a longtime Netanyahu confidant, signed a deal last week to turn state's witness and possibly incriminate Netanyahu in the affair.

As reports of the police interviews emerged, protesters gathered outside the prime minister's residence, demanding he step down. He calls the allegations against him a "witch hunt" and has said he will seek a fifth term in an election due late next year.

In one of the investigations, known as Case 1000, he is accused of accepting almost $300,000 in lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

Earlier in the week, the news outlet published a text message sent by Sara Netanyahu to Iris Elovitch, blasting coverage of the Netanyahus on Walla and urging her to "quickly" change it. In return, police say Netanyahu operated on Milchan's behalf on USA visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.


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