Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu questioned over third corruption case

Other | Monday 5th March 2018 | Claudia

Police questioned Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday due to a corruption scandal involving Israel's largest telecom firm. Local media reported that this wasn't the first time the prime minister was involved in such misconducts.  

The investigation, known as case 4,000 is investigating allegations that owners of Bezeq Israel Telecom, aired positive news coverage of the Netanyahu's in exchange for regulatory charges, that came up to millions of dollars.   

The Israeli telecom firm Bezeq has denied any malpractice, as for Netanyahu he has not been placed as a suspect in the case. Netanyahu was questioned by police for several hours to investigate further into the allegations made against him, but authorities did not specify which investigation they were following up on.

Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, was also questioned according to her lawyer and channel 10 TV aired footage on Friday of authorities entering the prime minister's property in Jerusalem. The 68-year-old leader has come under a lot of pressure lately, not only because of his reactionary right-wing politics but his involvement in corruption and bribery scandals.

Police last month advised Israel's attorney general to indict the prime minister based on to separate bribery investigations. This includes gifts being exchanged for positive media coverage of Netanyahu.

With a string of arrests, it seems the country's second longest running prime minister may be under threat. Netanyahu has denied any allegations of corruption and has accused media outlets of leading a witch hunt against him.

From the left: Sara Netanyahu and Benjamin Netanyahu

Other cases include case 1000 which is also known as “gifts affair” involving claims that Netanyahu and his family received £200,000 worth of gifts from wealthy international billionaires. Expensive gifts such as cigars, pink champagne and jewellery were said to be given to the Netanyahu's.

The Hollywood producer Arnon Michelin and Australian businessman James Packer are alleged benefactors of these bribes. Police say that in return Netanyahu helped Michelin with US visa matters and Israeli tax breaks.

Arnon Michelin

Case 2000 was said to be related to secret discussion with a leading Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in which Netanyahu allegedly requested positive coverage in exchange for damaging a competitor, the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Israel Hayom.

Another case which is currently under investigation. Case 3000 is inquiring into alleged kickback deals to purchase German submarines. The prime minister is not a suspect but is said to be closely related to this case.

Netanyahu plans to run in the 2019 elections, but with the attorney general's decisions on whether or not to charge the current Israeli prime minister, who knows if Benjamin Netanyahu long-running presidency is set to come to an end very soon.