Israeli police questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday for the first time in a corruption case that involves the country’s largest telecommunications company Bezeq, Israel Radio said.
Police allege that the owners of Bezeq Telecom provided favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his wife on a news website they controlled, in return for favors from communications regulators.
Netanyahu, already a suspect in two other corruption cases, denies any wrongdoing. A police spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
A Reuters cameraman saw a vehicle carrying two police officers pull into the prime minister’s official residence.
NAN reports that Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday directly implicated, for the first time,
Netanyahu in a ballooning corruption case concerning the dealings of the premier and his associates with telecommunications giant Bezeq
During a hearing about the case, state prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh of the Israel Securities Authority said Netanyahu, as communications minister, was at the center of “a very grave instance of giving and taking bribes.”
The case, dubbed “Case 4,000” to differentiate it from at least three other investigations Netanyahu and his associates are currently entangled in, centres on suspicions that Bezeq’s controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch was granted business concessions in return for Netanyahu receiving positive coverage on Elovitch’s news website Walla.
Nir Hefetz, a former personal spokesman for the Netanyahu family, was arrested in connection with the case along with Elovitch and several other suspects earlier this month.
Separately, Hefetz is suspected of offering a judge the country’s top justice post in exchange for using the position to kill an investigation into Sara Netanyahu’s alleged misuse of public funds.
On Monday, both Hefetz and Elovitch were remanded in custody until Sunday.
In a bombshell development to the case, explosive texts appeared to show collusion between a judge presiding over the case and an attorney representing investigators.
Both have since been replaced.
Until now, Netanyahu has not been implicated as a suspect in the affairs.