Key suspect in PM probe may become state witness
Former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber expected to incriminate Netanyahu as he prepares to ink state witness deal in fresh corruption case involving benefits for more favorable media coverage; PM: 'They're creating cases every 2 hours. This is complete madness.'
Filber informed his investigators of the details about which he would be able to testify pertaining to the suspects involved in the case that further increased pressure on the beleaguered prime minister embroiled in a series of other corruption scandals.
Filber was investigated on suspicions he acted in a fraudulent manner to advance the interests of Israeli telecommunications conglomerate Bezeq.
The police told him they would only use his testimony on condition that he sign a state witness agreement.
The Israel Securities Authority recently completed its inquiry into Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch's ties with Netanyahu and the suspicion he enjoyed benefits for Bezeq amounting to hundreds of millions of shekels in return for favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his family on the Walla! News website, which is fully owned by Bezeq.
According to a police statement, in light of the evidence provided by the Authority, suspicion arose of additional criminal activity in the case, which provided sufficient grounds for opening another joint investigation leading to the arrest of several suspects, including Filber.
Channel 2 News reported Tuesday evening that Filber was considering inking a state witness deal that would see him incriminate the prime minister.
Frustrated with the latest mounting developments, Netanyahu issued a personal response, criticizing the frequency with which investigations are being launched against him.
“What has happened in the last two days is simply complete madness, a scandal. They are presenting two false and fabricated claims as part of a witch hunt against me and my family,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on Facebook.
The second probe Netanyahu was referring to was the latest scandal—Case 1270—centering on suspicions that his former media adviser, Nir Hefetz, and Eli Kamir, former Bezeq strategic advisor, offered a bribe in the form of a promotion to a former District Court president judge Hila Gerstel to drop the case against his wife, Sara Netanyahu.
“All decisions in Bezeq are taken by professional committees, by professional officials, under the attached legal supervision. This isn’t the Wild West. There are no personal decisions. All the decisions are transparent and scritinized. That’s why the allegation that I acted for Bezeq’s benefit at the expense of practical considerations is fundamentally baseles.”
Case 4000, he said, "is no less fabricated and no less nefarious than the claim about the District Court president judge.
"I never consulted Nir Hefetz on this matter, he never proposed anything to me on this issue, and you know what? I don't believe that he suggested this possibility with anyone," Netanyahu said in the statement.
“You can’t ignore this orchestrated campaign. When the air was taken out of Case 1000 and Case 2000, when it became clear that there was no air at all in Case 3000, they created new cases,” the prime minister vented.
“They are creating cases every two hours. They bring in associates, investigate them, every associate is investigated, there is an immediate torrent of fictitious leaks. And we know what the goal is: to form a public cloud over the prime minister. It is simply unbelievable,” he added, before finally appealing directly to the the broader public.
“Citizens of Israel, it is important for me that you know that this is the truth. I want you to know that I trust you and the legal system and you can also trust me,” he said. “I am continuing and will continue to lead the State of Israel with responsibility, with discretion and with dedication.”