Israeli Police Interrogate Netanyahu and Wife over Corruption


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to his Facebook page Friday afternoon to wish his followers a happy Purim, and to reiterate his position that the Israeli police will not find anything incriminating in their investigations surrounding him.

Investigators questioned Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem Friday morning in the Bezeq corruption probe.

Hebrew media reported that the prime minister and his wife, Sara, were questioned under caution as suspects in the case.

Two Netanyahu confidants were arrested last month on suspicion of promoting regulation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bezeq telecom company.

Police suspect Elovitch was given business concessions in return for Netanyahu receiving good press on Walla!, a news website he owns.

It is the first time that Netanyahu, who as prime minister also held the communications portfolio until past year, is being questioned over the affair, known as Case 4,000.

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.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in all the cases.

Barnaby Joyce quits as Nationals leaders and deputy prime minister
The MP is now in a relationship with his former media adviser and the couple are expecting a child in the near future. The party is a junior partner in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government, which is headed by his Liberal Party.

Meanwhile, about 70 protesters gathered outside Netanyahu's residence, demanding his resignation.

Officials said Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit authorized police to question the Netanyahu couple simultaneously to ensure they couldn't coordinate their stories.

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

Media reports say Nir Hefetz and Eli Kamir, both former media advisers for the Netanyahu family, are alleged in 2015 to have offered judge Hila Gerstel a promotion in return for closing the criminal case.

Mr Netanyahu is accused of accepting almost $300,000 (Dh1.1m) in lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer. Police, however, confirmed that it was "being carried out with the supervision of the state attorney and approval of the attorney general".

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

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Ari Harow, a former Netanyahu chief of staff, agreed to testify for the state in the case in exchange for leniency.