Israeli PM questioned over corruption case


After a five-hour police questioning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a recorded statement on Friday that he was confident the investigations against him would amount to nothing.

The two are suspected of taking bribes from the owner of Israel's largest telecommunications company, Bezeq. According to the police, Netanyahu and Mozes held talks over an "exchange deal", in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yediot Aharonot in return for promoting a law and other measures that would limit the distribution of Israel Hayom, Yedioth's main rival.

Israeli police earlier on Friday separately questioned Netanyahu and his wife, Sarah, for several hours over corruption allegations.

The Israeli media said Bezeq Israel Telecom controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch and former Netanyahu spokesman Nir Hefetz were also being questioned.

Recent polling shows that about half of Israelis believe the police and think Netanyahu should step down, reports Reuters.

Sarah Netanyahu, who was summoned only to testify, may have to explain some text message communications she had with Elovitch's wife, Iris, YNet News reported Friday.

Mr Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in all the cases.

If investigators discover a promise for favorable coverage, Sarah Netanyahu could be charged.

Police question Benjamin Netanyahu over third corruption case
Israeli police question Netanyahu, wife in corruption case

In addition to two other questionable cases, where Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, the probes pose a critical danger to this four-term prime minister's political defense.

Police recommended last month that Mr Netanyahu be indicted in two other corruption investigations.

"A prime minister under investigation can not, and may not, take crucial decisions", Shuki Cohen, a 63-year-old economist from Moshav Arugot, said.

The Israeli prime minister, in an apparently unrelated case, is also subjected to accusations that he and his spouse misappropriated public funds to pay for private expenses, ranging from laundry to ice cream.

The prime minister, who denies wrongdoing in any of the various corruption cases swirling around him, slammed "biased and deceptive leaks" in response to the report.

On Saturday the prime minister leaves on a week-long diplomatic trip to the United States, where he will attend the annual policy conference of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and meet with US President Donald Trump.

Shlomo Filber, the former director-general of the Communications Ministry and a longtime Netanyahu confidant, signed a deal last week to turn state's witness and possibly incriminate Netanyahu in the affair.

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