Israeli police question Netanyahu, wife separately in corruption case

Israeli police question PM Netanyahu in telecom corruption case

After completing a five-hour questioning session by police Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he felt "more sure than ever before" that "nothing" will come of the latest corruption investigation.

According to Reuters report, along with two other corruption cases, in which Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, the probes announced in February pose a serious threat to the four-term prime minister's political survival.

The reports said Netanyahu tried to get favourable coverage on the Walla! news site owned by Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, in exchange for policies benefitting Bezeq.

Two weeks ago, the police submitted recommendations that the prime minister be indicted in connection with two other cases, also relating to bribes, fraud and breach of trust.

Sara Netanyahu and an aide are accused of falsely declaring that there were no cooks available at the prime minister's official residence and ordering from outside caterers at public expense.

One of the two Netanyahu's confidants arrested last month has turned state witness and will reportedly incriminate him in the corruption allegations.

Elovitch is suspected of being part of a bribery deal, in which Bezeq received regulatory and financial benefits from the Communication Ministry, which Netanyahu headed between 2014 and 2017 in addition to his capacity as prime minister. "Let our people go free from all the corruption surrounding the government and the head of it", said Shimrit Orr, 72, a writer, from Tel Aviv.

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Some drivers touted their horns in support as they drove by.

The rightwing prime minister has been Israel's dominant political figure for a generation, in power since 2009 and for 12 years in total since 1996.

The second case relates to an alleged deal for favorable coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of prominent Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

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

So far, partners in Mr Netanyahu's governing coalition have stood by him, saying that they are awaiting the next moves by the Attorney-General.

Channel 10 News reported on Thursday evening that police have seen text conversations between Sara and Elovitch's wife Iris which strengthen suspicions that their husbands traded favours. In the meantime, Netanyahu is not obligated to resign and has indicated he will fight the charges while remaining in office.

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