Netanyahu to be questioned Tuesday in Bezeq graft probe

Company’s controlling shareholder Elovitch also expected to be interrogated; Hollywood producer Milchan reportedly to be probed in Case 2000

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 8, 2018 (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 8, 2018 (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be interrogated Tuesday in Jerusalem over the Bezeq graft investigation, which involves suspicions that he promoted regulation benefiting a media tycoon in exchange for favorable news coverage.

According to reports, Netanayahu’s questioning will cover audio recordings handed over by state witness Nir Hefetz, a former senior aide to the prime minister.

Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch is also expected to be questioned on Tuesday.

The probe, known as Case 4000, involves suspicions that Netanyahu, who also served as communications minister for several years over his past two terms, advanced regulatory decisions benefiting Elovitch in exchange for flattering coverage of the Netanyahus from the Elovitch-owned Walla news site.

Hefetz, a former media adviser to the Netanyahu family, is the third confidant of the premier to become state’s witness in the various cases against him, joining former Communications Ministry director general Shlomo Filber and former chief of staff Ari Harow.

Former media adviser to the prime minister Nir Hefetz arrives for a remand hearing in Case 4000 at the Tel Aviv District Court, February 22, 2018 (Flash90)

Hefetz is said to have provided officials with further evidence in Cases 1000 and 2000 as well.

In Case 1000 — in which Netanyahu and his wife are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors — Hefetz reportedly provided investigators with names of additional patrons of the couple, seemingly strengthening the case that their alleged misdeeds were part of a pattern.

In Case 2000 — which involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes — Hefetz was said to have provided names of additional figures involved in the conversations between the two.

Police are planning to interrogate Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in relation to Case 2000 as new information has come to light that the movie mogul allegedly mediated between Netanyahu and Mozes in 2009, the Kan public broadcaster reported Monday. Milchan is also a central figure in Case 1000.

The prime minister’s wife and son Yair have both been questioned in the cases as well. The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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