PM’s defense said to ask minister for documents to help prove his innocence
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PM’s defense said to ask minister for documents to help prove his innocence

Attorney says Justice Ministry, in messages with State Comptroller, confirmed Netanyahu’s actions in Bezeq case were aboveboard

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in the Knesset, December 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in the Knesset, December 21, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A lawyer for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to help obtain documents he says will help prove there was no wrongdoing in his client’s dealings with former Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch.

A report on Channel 12 news on Monday said Navot Tel-Zur had demanded in a letter that Shaked urgently intervene to ensure documents relating to Case 4000 are made available for the benefit of Netanyahu’s defense.

The documents, Tel-Zur asserted, included a 2016-2017 back-and-forth between Justice Ministry officials and the State Comptroller in which the ministry stated that Netanyahu’s actions were all aboveboard, and that decisions were made only after consulting legal authorities to ensure there would be no conflict of interests.

“We view the Justice Ministry’s responses to the State Comptroller as documents with great importance for the prime minister’s defense,” the letter said.

A composite image of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch. (Flash90; Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

There were no further details on the content of the documents in question.

In Case 4000 Netanyahu is suspected of having advanced regulatory decisions as communications minister and prime minister from 2015 to 2017 that benefited Elovitch, who was the controlling shareholder in Bezeq, the country’s largest telecommunications firm, in exchange for positive coverage from Elovitch’s Walla news site.

Navot Tel-Zur at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on February 9, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Insisting he has done nothing wrong, Netanyahu has argued that the media, the opposition, and the police are mounting a “witch hunt” against him and relentlessly pushing a “weak” attorney general to indict him in corruption cases.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit is widely expected to announce in the coming days his plans to indict Netanyahu pending a hearing. The hearing process could take up to a year.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks at a Conference at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv, January 16, 2019. (Flash90)

Netanyahu is also a suspect in two other corruption investigations, Case 1000 and Case 2000.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu is alleged to have received tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from Arnon Milchan, an Israeli Hollywood producer, and James Packer, an Australian casino mogul. The gifts include champagne, cigars, flights and hotel rooms.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu and Arnon “Noni” Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s best-selling newspaper,  have been investigated over allegations that Yedioth would receive benefits in exchange for helping the prime minister remain in power.

On Sunday, the State Comptroller’s Permits Committee rejected for the second time a request by Netanyahu to fund his legal defense in the three corruption cases via payments from wealthy associates, including his cousin.

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