Police to Question Netanyahu in Bribery Case After State Witness Provides New Recordings

Revital Hovel
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Benjamin Netanyahu with his then-confidant Nir Hefetz, at a cabinet meeting in 2010.
Benjamin Netanyahu and then-confidant Nir Hefetz in better days. As state's witness, Hefetz is providing police with material in several investigations of the prime minister. Credit: Haim Zach
Revital Hovel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be questioned again in Case 2000, the Yedioth Ahronoth quid-pro-quo affair, after new recordings were received from state’s evidence Nir Hefetz, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported Wednesday.

MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) will also be questioned regarding the new information, after contradictions were found in his testimony. MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) will also provide testimony.

In this case Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, for allegedly making an offer to Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes to take steps to rein in Yediot rival Israel Hayom in exchange for more favorable coverage in Yedioth. The prime minister’s wife, Sara, and his son Yair are also heard in the new recordings handed over by Hefetz.

Hefetz, a former spokesman and close associate of Netanyahu’s, signed an agreement in March to turn state’s evidence in the Bezeq-Walla affair (Case 4000). Hefetz, who was detained for two weeks and suspected of accepting bribes and obstructing justice, undertook to hand over recordings of the prime minister and his wife, as well as information in other cases against the prime minister. He is expected to receive full immunity in return for his testimony, which is supposed to strengthen Cases 1000 (the lavish-gifts case), 2000 and 4000.

In case 4000 Netanyahu is suspected of using his role as communications minister from 2014 to 2017 (while he was also prime minister), to intervene with regulators to help the Bezeq group, which is controlled by Shaul Elovitch. In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu’s, allegedly ordered Bezeq’s Walla news site to provide favorable coverage of the prime minister and his wife Sara.

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