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Police Obtain New Evidence in Netanyahu Corruption Case

Police Obtain New Evidence in Netanyahu Corruption Case

Sunday, 13 January, 2019 - 13:00
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Israeli police has received additional information in regards to the corruption probe against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sources close to the investigation said.

They revealed that this information increases the likelihood of his conviction in two out of the three corruption cases against him.

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

The new information in the case proved that Netanyahu had lied to investigators when he said the Ministry of Communications officials did not oppose merging the Bezeq and Walla firms.

However, several communications ministry officials, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who was the former Minister of Communications, sacked director general of the ministry Avi Berger, and all the ministry's technical officials who testified in the investigation, said they opposed the merger.

Sources familiar with the details of the statements confirmed that all the relevant officials in the ministry made similar testimonies, which concludes that they did not ratify the deal without imposing conditions on Bezeq Telecom.

Officials said in their testimonies that the change in the ministry's position took place only after Netanyahu appointed a close associate of his, Shalma Felber, as director general of the ministry.

They added that Felber received direct instructions from Netanyahu and they had direct and indirect contacts about the merger of the two companies.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister hobble rival daily Israel Hayom in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

In this case, sources revealed that police wanted to arrest Mozes, but Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit opposed the move in order to protect the investigations.

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