A judge recently ruled that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sarah Netanyahu, is not facing money-laundering charges, but clarified that "the suspicions against her are focused on the issue of taking control" of the Walla! News site "and its content and influencing news coverage.”
The investigation, also known as Case 4000, involves suspicions that Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch and Prime Minister 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.
The police noted that "the investigation is progressing at a satisfactory pace, but additional time is required to complete it."
In a statement sent to the parties involved by the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court Thursday morning, it was said that Sara Netanyahu is suspected of bribery in Case 4000.
Judge Alaa Masarwa discussed the forfeiture of property from Shaul and Iris Elovitch. The judge ordered the extension of the requisition orders for another 180 days, with the exception of certain items such as art objects and the vehicle belonging to Mrs. Elovitch, which were released back to the couple's possession.
In addition, he ruled that certain sums of money that were confiscated from the couple's accounts would be returned.
The decision came despite the police stating that it wanted to hold onto the property for some more time, pending the investigation findings.
The Elovitch couple has been charged with bribery, fraud under aggravated circumstances, and money laundering offenses. The judge, who has ruled in the past that there is reasonable suspicion against the two, noted that the scope of their offenses was estimated to amount to NIS 1 billion.
The defense attorneys argued, inter alia, in a previous hearing that it was not clear why there were no economic ramifications for other suspects in the 4000 case, including Sara Netanyahu. The State countered that Mrs. Netanyahu was not charged with money laundering.
"These suspicions are not attributed to Mrs. Netanyahu, and rightly so," the judge said, adding that Netanyahu is accused of trying to influence Walla’s news coverage but was not accused of committing "an act with prohibited property."