Bezeq CEO Stella Handler, who is being investigated in a major corruption probe involving the telecommunications giant, announced Monday she will step down in July.
“After completing a five-year term at Bezeq and in preparation for the change in ownership at the company, and in light of the investigations and circumstances that were created, I have decided to resign from my position,” Handler wrote in a letter to acting Bezeq chairman David Granot.
“This is the right thing for me to do personally and for Bezeq.”
Granot thanked Handler and praised her work at the company.
“During the period in which I have served as acting chairman of the company I got to know Stella Handler’s excellent work at Bezeq and her deep commitment to the company’s success,” he said, noting that she worked under “not simple limitations.”
Yaakov Paz, a vice president at Bezeq, was appointed as acting CEO of Bezeq last month in Handler’s stead.
Handler, who became Bezeq CEO in 2013, was released to house arrest last month after being held in police custody in connection with so-called Case 4000 that has also ensnared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch; his wife, Iris; his son, Or; and Bezeq’s deputy CEO for business development, Amikam Shorer, were also released to house arrest after being detained in the case. All have denied wrongdoing.
The so-called “Case 4000” investigation began as a Securities Authority probe into decisions by the Communications Ministry that consistently and dramatically benefited Bezeq. In return for ministry favors on behalf of Bezeq, Elovitch is suspected of instructing the Walla news site, which he owns, to provide favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his family. Meanwhile, the ministry’s director general, Shlomo Filber, has become a state’s witness in the case.
Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman for the Netanyahu family, has also turned state’s witness in the case. He reportedly acted as a point man between Netanyahu and Filber regarding regulation benefiting Bezeq, as well as between Netanyahu’s wife Sara and Iris Elovitch regarding coverage at Walla.