Photo: Orel Cohen, Amit Sha'al and Motti Kimchi
From left to right: Ilan Yeshua, Nir Hefetz and Shaul Eloviitch
Photo: Orel Cohen, Amit Sha'al and Motti Kimchi

Elovitch recorded ordering Walla CEO to treat Netanyahu favorably

Head of news website provides investigators with recordings of Bezeq's controlling shareholder ordering him to provide the prime minister and his family with flattering coverage; law enforcement sources says tape is one of things that convinced Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber to become state's witness.

Ilan Yeshua, the CEO of the Walla website, has provided police investigators in recent days with recordings in which Bezeq's controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, is heard pressuring him to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family flattering coverage.



The Elovitch recordings provided the breakthrough in the investigation of Case 4000, in which the police are looking into suspicions that Elovitch and Bezeq received regulatory benefits from the Communications Ministry in return for the favorable coverage.


Shaul Elovitch. Pressured Walla CEO to provide Netanyahu with favorable coverage (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Shaul Elovitch. Pressured Walla CEO to provide Netanyahu with favorable coverage (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


In his recent testimonies to the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) and the police's Lahav 433 Unit, Yeshua indicated that he planned to cooperate with the investigators and reveal how Elovitch pressured him and issued editing instructions for the website.


They were astounded, however, when Yeshua told them that he had realized the pressure was inappropriate and begun recording his conversations with Elovitch. When Yeshua presented the first recording to the investigators, their jaws dropped as they heard Elovitch issuing the explicit order.


Filber: Glad to come full circle

A source in the law enforcement system said that the recordings "was one of the main things that broke down Shlomo Filber's resistance and led to the state's witness agreement," after Filber realized what had been taking place behind his back while he provided Elovitch with benefits as the Communications Ministry director-general.


The source added that after his decision to cooperate with the police, Filber shook hands with the ISA investigators, who he was familiar with from his previous interrogations, and said: "I'm glad to come full circle with you."


Filber in court. The recording 'broke his resistance' (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Filber in court. The recording 'broke his resistance' (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


Meanwhile Wednesday, Yeshua was forced to confront Elovitch and Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu's former media advisor, as part of the ongoing corruption investigation.


Yeshua that Hefetz was the mediator in the Prime Minister’s Office and that Elovitch asked him to be in contact with him.


Police investigators brought Elovitch into the interrogation room and asked Yeshua, among other things, to repeat his testimony, according to which Elovitch gave the explicit order to portray the Netanyahu family in a more positive light.


During the exchange, police presented Hefetz with the claims that Yeshua had made in his testimony and asked him if they were true.


“Everything I have to say I answered you in the open testimony,” he responded in the Lahav 443 fraud investigation unit in Lod next to the investigators from the Israel Police and the Israel Securities Authority.


Elovitch is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Hefetz is suspected of taking bribes and obstructing justice.


The Walla news website's former news anchor, Dov Gilhar, and one of the website's senior editors, Avi Alcalay, testified Thursday at the Israel Securities Authority as part of Case 4000.


The police are expected to ask the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Thursday afternoon to keep Hefetz, Elovitch, his wife Iris and his son Or in custody.


On Wednesday, the court extended Filber's remand by 15 days. The remand of Bezeq CEO Stella Handler’s and the company's Strategy and Business Development Manager Amikam Shorer by was extended by six days each.


“Now that the gag order has been removed, I can say unequivocally that this case raises reasonable suspicion and is based on even more serious corruption, everyone with his share, everyone with his own condition,” said Judge Ronit Pozanski-Katz when extending the remand.


“The acts were allegedly carried out by senior officials in the government and Bezeq,” she said.


Handler, who was expected to be brought to trial after the first part of the case, was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of giving bribes, Offenses under the Securities Law, fraud, disrupting legal process and breach of trust.


פרסום ראשון: 02.22.18, 08:44
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