Netanyahu confidant agrees to testify against him

Aviv last week called for Mr. Netanyahu to resign. Credit Abir Sultan  European Press

Police suspect Bezeq received regulatory benefits in return for providing favorable media coverage of Netanyahu on Walla, a news website that is controlled by Elovitch's holding company Eurocom.

Filber, a former director-general of the Communications Ministry and longtime confidant of PM Netanyahu, for testifying to his role as a go-between for a bribery offer, will instead plead guilty to the lesser charge of conduct unbecoming of a public official.

Last week police recommended that the state attorney press charges against the prime minister for bribery and breach of trust in two separate corruption investigations.

According to the police, Netanyahu and his family received goods, including jewelry, cigars, and Champaign, worth about one million shekels (282,800 dollars) from Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer.

Last September Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said he was considering indicting Sara Netanyahu for fraud over suspected use of state funds for personal dining and catering services amounting to some $100,000.

For his part, Mr Netanyahu says all decisions about Bezeq were transparent and subject to oversight.

In a response to reports about the investigation, Netanyahu said, "Nir Hefetz never suggested this absurd idea to the Prime Minister and his wife, [and] he never asked them to put forward an idea like this, and we don't believe that Hefetz even had such an idea".

Benjamin Netanyahu's legal woes deepened after one of his closest confidants agreed to testify against him in a ballooning corruption scandal, complicating the Israeli leader's efforts to hold on to his job.

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On Tuesday, the Maariv newspaper reported that a Netanyahu aide is suspected of offering a judge the post of attorney general if she halted investigations into Sara Netanyahu's household spending.

This is the fourth ongoing investigation involving corruption and the Israeli premier, which is being dubbed Case 4000 or "the Bezeq case".

He denies all corruption allegations, saying they are a political witch hunt.

Police alleged that Netanyahu worked with Arnon Milchan, a well-known Israeli-born Hollywood producer to arrange a USA visa, lessen the billionaire's tax burden, assist with business ventures, and intervene in the media market on Milchan's behalf.

Case 2000 concerns allegations that Netanyahu sought a deal with the owner of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper that would have seen it give him more favourable coverage.

Supporters of the premier said Alsheichs interview with Israel's Channel 2 television further weakened the publics trust in the police, perceived by some as attempting to frame Netanyahu.

Leader of the Zionist Union party Avi Gabbay believes that the opposition should get prepared for an early election in light of recent revelations.

Responding to the allegations, Netanyahu slammed the police probe against him is "like Swiss cheese" full of holes, stressing that the truth would eventually come out.

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