Police are seeking another round of questioning of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Monday in the Bezeq graft probe, for the first time since a former adviser turned state’s witness in the high profile corruption case, Hadashot TV news reported Friday.
The Netanyahus’ eldest son Yair may also be questioned then, according to the report.
The prime minister and his wife were last questioned earlier this month in the Bezeq probe, known as Case 4000, which involves suspicions Netanyahu advanced legislation benefiting Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for flattering coverage from his Walla news site.
Days later, Nir Hefetz, a former media adviser to the Netanyahu family, turned state’s witness in the investigation. He became the third Netanyahu confidant to do so in cases involving the premier, joining former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber and former chief of staff Ari Harrow.
According to the Hadashot news report, police are seeking to obtain the Netanyahus’ version of events after having gathered testimony from Hefetz.
The report said that as was the case earlier this month, the prime minister and his wife will be questioned in separate locations, with Hefetz and Filber simultaneously in interrogation rooms. Elovitch and his wife Iris will also be questioned at the same time, the report said.
It would be the first time Yair Netanyahu is questioned.
Earlier this month, Israeli television reported that Hefetz is set to testify on two recent security incidents in which, pressured by his wife and son, Netanyahu made decisions that contradicted the positions of his professional advisers, including the heads of Israel’s Mossad spy agency and Shin Bet internal security service.
A Hadashot news report said Hefetz told associates that Yair Netanyahu had dramatic influence over Netanyahu, who, “inspired and influenced by his son Yair, showed national irresponsibility and made decisions that harmed Israel’s national interests and security.”
Netanyahu said in a statement in response that “the comments attributed to Hefetz are nonsense” and “baseless,” and claimed that Hefetz had been “entirely cut off” from intelligence and defense information “and from decision-making in those matters.”
In addition to Case 4000, Netanyahu is also suspected of wrongdoing in so-called cases 1000 and 2000, in which police have recommended he be indicted for bribery, breach of trust and fraud.
In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, amounting to some NIS 1 million ($282,000) worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer in return for certain benefits.
Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.
Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect in another investigation, Case 3000, but there have been reports that police are considering questioning him under caution about the case.
Case 3000 involves suspected corruption in the multi-billion-shekel purchase of submarines and other naval vessels and from a German shipbuilder. The investigation has focused on suspicions that state officials were bribed to influence a decision to purchase four patrol boats and three Dolphin-class submarines costing a total of 2 billion euros from ThyssenKrupp, despite opposition to the deal from the Defense Ministry.
Netanyahu and his family have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in all of the cases.