JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday for the first time in a corruption case that involves the country’s largest telecommunications company, Israel Radio said.
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. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in all the cases.
In the newest investigation, known as Case 4000, police allege that the owners of Bezeq Israel Telecom provided favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his wife on a news website they controlled in return for favors from communications regulators.
The company has denied wrongdoing. (For a graphic on investigations of Netanyahu, click tmsnrt.rs/2iE4zAN)
A police spokesman declined comment on the report that the prime minister was questioned. A Reuters cameraman saw a vehicle carrying two police officers pull into the prime minister’s official residence on Friday morning.
Netanyahu’s wife Sara was also questioned at the same time as her husband, at a police station near Tel Aviv, her lawyer told Reuters. Sara Netanyahu’s interview took place under caution that she might be named as a suspect, the lawyer said.
Israeli media said the controlling shareholder of Bezeq Telecom, Shaul Elovitch, and Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu spokesman, were also being questioned. They are both in custody and have denied wrongdoing.
A representative for Elovitch had no immediate comment and Hefetz’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Shlomo Filber, a confidant of Netanyahu and former director general of the Communications Ministry, has also been arrested in connection with the case. Israeli media have reported that he has agreed to turn state’s witness.