A statement made on behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the Bezeq-Walla corruption affair says that he never received positive media coverage from Walla! News, and therefore, the affair, also known as Case 4000, is crumbling.
The statement was issued following Netanyahu's questioning by police on Friday morning.
"Following the police questioning, Prime Minister Netanyahu is certain that case 4000 has finally collapsed", the statement's read.
"The facts unequivocally prove that Netanyahu's coverage in Walla when Shaul Elovitch was the majority shareholder remained as negative as when Walla was owned by Amos Schocken, and did not change in the slightest when Netanyahu became minister of communications," the statement continued.
"On the other hand, other communications ministers received a tremendous boost in positive media coverage after taking office—not only by Walla, but by other major media outlets as well.
"No one claims, and rightly so, that there is something wrong with that. However, Netanyahu did not receive such a boost in positive media coverage, and therefore, this is another explanation for the crumbling 4000 case," the statement concluded.
According to recent reports, Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, gave a testimony regarding the case a few weeks ago.
The police questioned him about his previous role as the communication minister, the way in which he conducted himself as opposed to Netanyahu, and asked about his policy toward Bezeq.
Investigative police arrived on Friday morning at the prime minister's official residence to begin another round of questioning as part of the Bezeq-Walla corruption affair, also known as Case 4000.
It is expected to be the final time that police officers question the prime minister at his residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem as investigative teams begin wrapping up the case and assembling the final details.
The investigation involves suspicions that Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch and Netanyahu had a quid pro quo relationship in which Bezeq enjoyed regulatory benefits in return for favorable coverage of the Netanyahu family on Walla! News, which is owned by the telecommunications giant.
As was published last week in Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth, Netanyahu and Elovitch allegedly had a secret meeting in 2015 ahead of an important discussion at the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council on the merger of telecommunications giant Bezeq and satellite TV company Yes.
Both Netanyahu and Elovitch concealed the conflict of interest and only later, under court order, revealed that they met several times.
As part of the investigation—also known as Case 4000 or the Bezeq corruption affair—police have collected testimonies according to which the 2015 meeting concerned the planned merger, and Elovitch, then the owner of Bezeq, was satisfied by the outcome of the meeting.
Netanyahu was also questioned last month in the case and grilled for five hours at the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit in Lod, after which he released a statement saying that “nothing new was presented” during the extensive round of interrogation and denied having ever done any deal with Elovitch.
In May, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that the investigation surrounding the affair was approaching its final stages, while asserting that the Israeli judicial system “is under attack” from coalition forces.
“The investigation into the case is in its latter stages. Hundreds of testimonies were gathered, some of them from across the sea. Many documents and exhibits were seized,” Mandelblit said during a speech at the annual Conference of the Israel Bar Association in Eilat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.