Israel police question PM Netanyahu in corruption case

Israeli police question Netanyahu in corruption caseMore

Israeli police question Netanyahu in corruption caseMore

Israeli police questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for five hours on Friday over what news reports said was his possible role in a far-reaching bribery scandal allegedly involving the granting of regulatory benefits worth millions of dollars to Israeli telecom giant Bezeq.

As police and Israeli Security Agency investigators arrived at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, demonstrators protested outside - calling for Netanyahu's resignation.

Netanyahu and his wife Sara were both interrogated in relation to the so-called Case 4000, reports Bloomberg, citing local media.

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.

Friday's questioning marked the first time Netanyahu and his wife were questioned in the corruption investigation, known as Case 4000.

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It is believed that police presented Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu with pieces of evidence collected throughout the investigation and asked them to comment on them.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in all the cases.

The firm has denied wrongdoing.

Officials said Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit authorized police to question the Netanyahu couple simultaneously to ensure they couldn't coordinate their stories.

Israeli media said the controlling shareholder of Bezeq Telecom, Shaul Elovitch, and Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu spokesman, were also being questioned.

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The attorney-general must determine whether to accept the police recommendation to charge him.

Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and a former communications ministry director general, is expected be a state witness in exchange for avoiding jail.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the ultranationalist party Jewish Home, said that according to the law, Netanyahu can stay in the job through the end of his trial.

Television footage showed police investigators entering Netanyahu's residence. 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. Netanyahu reportedly was recorded asking Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yediot Ahronot, for positive coverage in exchange for helping to weaken Israel Hayom, a free pro-Netanyahu newspaper that had cut into Yediot's business. Political analysts say such support could erode if the investigations against Netanyahu intensify.

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