Police Question Netanyahu for 10th Time; Wife's Trial Delayed

Police investigators question Netanyahu for 4 hours about alleged corruption involving telecom giant ■ 'I was shown nothing new,' PM says after investigation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, awaiting a guest in June 2018.
GALI TIBBON / AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was investigated on Tuesday with regards to the alleged tradeoff made with former Bezeq controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, known as Case 4000.

The investigation, which lasted four hours, was the tenth time Netanyahu was questioned since the start of the corruption probes. 

Investigators confronted Netanyahu with testimony and material provided by state’s witnesses Nir Hefetz and Shlomo Filber. Elovitch was expected to face questioning on Tuesday as well. 

Netanyahu said after the investigation that nothing new was presented to him, and denied ever making a deal with Elovitch to receive favorable coverage. "Case 400 never happened," he said.

Netanyahu was last questioned in the case about three and a half months ago. Last month, he testified for five hours in about the controversial sale of German submarines to Israel in the so-called submarines affair.

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In the two other cases against Netanyahu –  Case 1000, the champagne-and-cigars affair involving Arnon Milchan, and Case 2000, an abortive deal with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes – some investigation work still needs to be done, thanks largely to Hefetz’s testimony and some new details he has provided.

Prosecutors are assessing both cases so they can decide, together with Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, whether a decision on whether to recommend charges against the prime minister should be made only after completion of the probe into Case 4000, which may take several more months to wrap up.

The opinions of these prosecutors on all three cases are expected to be ready only in 2019.

Two weeks ago Mendelblit said that contrary to the public’s impression, Netanyahu has only been under investigation for a year and a half. Mendelblit ordered an examination of the prime minister two years ago, and only in January 2017 – when the prime minister was questioned for the first time under caution – did the examination turn into a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has granted a request for a three-month delay of the trial of Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, and Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office. Instead of next week, the trial will begin in October.

Sara Netanyahu was charged last month with breach of trust and fraud for ordering meals worth some 350,000 shekels ($96,000) from gourmet restaurants from 2010 to 2013. She was accused of violating rules barring the ordering of meals while a house cook was on staff. Saidoff was also charged with falsification of information by a public servant.