Court bars Communication Ministry chief from office
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Court bars Communication Ministry chief from office

Shlomo Filber, suspected of swaying decisions in favor of Bezeq, told to refrain from contact with the company, his coworkers

Shlomo Filber, director general of the Communications Ministry, seen during a court hearing in the Supreme Court regarding the closing of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. May 15, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Shlomo Filber, director general of the Communications Ministry, seen during a court hearing in the Supreme Court regarding the closing of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. May 15, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A court on Wednesday instructed the director general of the Communications Ministry to stay away from his office and avoid any contact, direct or indirect, with his employees at the ministry until a decision is taken about his temporary suspension from the post.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court ruled that Shlomo Filber, who is suspected to have worked illicitly to advance the interests of Bezeq — Israel’s largest telecommunications firm — also refrain from contacting officials at Bezeq and its related companies and officials at the Justice Ministry.

“The suspect will not deal with anything that is directly or indirectly connected to Bezeq, Yes and or Space-Communication Ltd. and or the Bezeq Group,” the court ruled, according to protocols released.

Yes, a provider of pay TV services, is a subsidiary of Bezeq. Space-Communication Ltd. is a satellite communication provider, controlled by Elovitch.

The Civil Service Commission is expected to decide on a temporary suspension of Filber from his post in the coming days.

The court also instructed Filber to continue to be available, as needed, for interrogations and not to contact investigators directly or indirectly. He was also barred from accessing computer files that are connected to the investigation. The court also kept in place the requirement that Filber not leave the country for 180 days starting July 12 and maintained the NIS 400,000 ($112,000) bond requirement.

An ally and appointee of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Filber was interrogated by the Israel Security Authorities earlier this month on suspicions of ethics violations and securities fraud regarding his involvement with Bezeq, headed by Shaul Elovitch, said to be a friend of the Israeli premier.

Filber, Netanyahu and Elovitch have denied any wrongdoing.

Filber’s assistant at the ministry, Adi Kahan, was also instructed by the court to refrain from contacts with Bezeq and its related companies, and other ministry coworkers. Kahan was instructed not to leave the country for 180 days starting July 13, and ordered to post a bond of NIS 50,000.

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