Case 4000: PM claims he never received favorable coverage from Walla! News
During 5-hour investigation in case involving alleged quid pro quo deals with Walla news site, Netanyahu cited negative news coverage of his wife as proof no deal was ever struck; ‘My wife received favorable coverage? 75 percent of the articles are against her.'
“My wife received favorable coverage? 75 percent of the articles are against her,” vented the prime minister during the interrogation.
Netanyahu was well prepared for the interrogation and arrived carrying various documents, which included articles from Walla! News and financial statements from his time as communications minister.
“These are the documents you have access to,” he exclaimed to the investigators.
“Take Bezeq’s financial balances during the time I was a minister and Filber was Bezeq CEO … Bezeq suffered financial losses," he said in reference to former Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber
“Momo Filber,” the prime minister continued, “He gave in to Hot and forced Bezeq to allow them to use its infrastructure, and it resulted in great financial loses.”
Netanyahu also denied he had approved the merger of Bezeq and satellite television provider Yes.
“I didn’t approve it. I only formally signed it. The merger had been approved by committees established during Kahlon,” he explained in the testimony.
The prime minister presented the investigators with the Walla! News articles he had brought and added “My wife received a favorable coverage? 75 percent of the articles are against her.”
Netanyahu also provided them with text messages his spouse Sara sent to Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch’s wife Iris.
“You are slaughtering me, you leftists,” she rages in one of the messages.
The prime minister proceeded to ask the investigators “If there was a bribe involved, why didn’t Sara write what she was giving them?”
Netanyahu's lawyers and relatives David Shimron and Yitzhak Molcho also provided open testimony in the affair.
“There is no Case 4000, no Case 2000 and no Case 1000. We’ve collected evidence over the past few months that prove it,” said a source associated with the prime minister.
During the interrogation Netanyahu was mainly confronted with the testimony of state witness Nir Hefetz, his the former media adviser and the one who relayed orders from the prime minister to Filber and from there to Elovitch.
Police suspect that Bezeq received benefits worth about NIS 1 billion from the Communications Ministry in return to favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his family on the Walla! website, which is owned by Elovitch.
A statement on behalf of Netanyahu was released after the interrogation was concluded.
“Nothing new was presented before the prime minister. Prime Minister Netanyahu never did a deal with Shaul Elovitch in return for favorable coverage, that is why throughout the years Prime Minister Netanyahu has consistently been covered in a hostile manner on Walla. Negative coverage reached its peak with a flood of toxic articles on the eve of the elections in 2015, in an attempt to convince the public to vote against him. This is the exact period of time during which he is being accused of making the alleged deal,” concluded the statement.