Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Police question Netanyahu for five hours over corruption

Police question Netanyahu for five hours over corruption

Israeli police were questioning Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife on Friday as part of an investigation into a corruption case involving the country's telecom giant, casting a shadow on the prime minister's trip to Washington next week.

The questioning came shortly before Netanyahu was scheduled to depart for the United States, where he is expected to visit President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.

A final case, dubbed 3000, is being investigated separately and has involved Netanyahu allies, but the prime minister has not been named as a suspect.

The Israeli prime minister and his wife Sara are suspects in a bribery case along with the main shareholder of Israel's largest telecoms company, Bezeq.

The other, Case 2000, involves an alleged plot to win positive coverage in Israel's biggest newspaper by offering to take measures to curtail the circulation of a rival daily.

This is the first time that Netanyahu has been formally questioned in the case.

Mr Shlomo Filber, a confidant of Mr Netanyahu's and former director-general of the Communications Ministry, has also been arrested in connection with the case.

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Israeli police on Friday stormed the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's to question him, according to media reports, for the eighth time over allegations of fraud and bribery.

The Associated Press, alongside other agency cameras, caught detectives arriving in two vehicles around 9 a.m., but there has been no official police statement on the ongoing investigation. It is now up to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to decide whether to indict Netanyahu in those cases, dubbed Case 1000 and Case 2000.

Mr. Netanyahu is accused of accepting almost $300,000 in lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

Police have not yet called for an indictment in this case.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the accusations as a witch hunt orchestrated by a hostile media. It is a sentiment echoed throughout the government.

"We want to see Netanyahu go to trial and, if needed, go to jail or go home". But, she said, coalition members are likely to reconsider their current positions based on the decisions of the attorney general.

Channel 10 news reported on Thursday that investigators are in possession of correspondence between Sara Netanyahu and Elovitch's wife that appear to implicate the prime minister's wife in the burgeoning scandal.

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