Israeli police grill Netanyahu at home in yet another investigation

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) — Police investigators entered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Friday as authorities continue to investigate the embattled leader over another bribery case.

Cameras caught detectives arriving in two vehicles around 9 a.m., but there has been no official police statement on the ongoing investigation.

According to Israeli media reports, police are expected to question the prime minister in Case 4000, the so-called “telecom case,” one of a growing list of bribery investigations dogging the already-struggling prime minister. The case centers on Netanyahu’s previous term as prime minister when he also served as minister of communications. It is suspected that he acted in favor of Bezeq, the largest Israeli telecommunications company, in exchange for favorable coverage on the popular news site Walla, owned by Bezeq.

Bezeq’s owner, Shaul Elovitch, is a longtime friend of Netanyahu and has also been detained as part of the investigation. According to Israeli media reports, police have also arrested at least seven other suspects, including the former Director General of the Communications Ministry Shlomo Filber, who has now been released because he cooperated with police; and Nir Hefetz, a former media adviser to the Netanyahus. Eli Kamir, another former Netanyahu adviser, was also arrested and released from police custody.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the prosecutor Judith Tirosh said last week this is “a very serious case of allegedly giving and taking bribes, of granting sympathetic coverage — and that’s an understatement that distorts reality — and of harnessing a leading website for favorable reporting and editing in exchange for regulatory benefits by the Communications Ministry, the communications minister and the ministry director general, whose value to Eurocom was between 680 million and 1 billion shekels ($195 million to $287 million).”

The prime minister will be questioned at the residence on Friday, while his wife, Sara Netanyahu, will also be questioned separately at a different location, according to media reports. They are both possible criminal suspects in the case.

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