Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu to be Questioned at Same Time Friday

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu to be Questioned at Same Time Friday

On February 13 Israeli police recommended Netanyahu be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust in two cases known as 1000 and 2000.

Israeli police questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for five hours on Friday over what news reports said was his possible role in a far-reaching bribery scandal allegedly involving the granting of regulatory benefits worth millions of dollars to Israeli telecom giant Bezeq.

Mr Netanyahu was questioned at his official residence just hours before he was due to fly to the United States.

Footage on Channel 2 News showed police arriving at the Prime Minister's house, and, separately, showed his wife, Sara Netanyahu, arriving for questioning at the police anti-corruption unit in the Israeli town of Lod. Nir Hefetz was Mr Netanyahu's head of communications and David Sharan served as his chief of staff.

Eli Kamir, another former Netanyahu adviser arrested last week, was on Wednesday released from police custody but placed under house arrest. The final decision on both cases could take months.

The controlling shareholder of Bezeq Telecom, Shaul Elovitch, is now in police custody, along with a former Netanyahu spokesman.They deny any wrongdoing. The lawyer said Sara was questioned under police caution, indicating that she could become a suspect.

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Reports said Ms. Sara was being questioned at another location.

It was recordings provided to police by Yeshua that reportedly persuaded another suspect in the case, former Communications Ministry director Shlomo Filber, to turn state's witness in the case.

"Tendentious and lying leaks against Mrs. Netanyahu are meant to hurt the prime minister and the Likud government".

"A prime minister under investigation can not, and may not, take crucial decisions", said Shuki Cohen, 63, an economist from Moshav Arugot. The police haven't yet ascertained whether the first lady is also a suspect, the spokeswomen said. The controlling shareholder of Bezeq, Shaul Elovitch, is a close friend of Netanyahu and owns online news site Walla! The attorney-general must determine whether to accept the police recommendation to charge him.

So far, partners in Mr Netanyahu's governing coalition have stood by him, saying that they are awaiting the next moves by the Attorney-General. During that time, Walla's coverage notably changed to favor the Netanyahu family, and Bezeq was given permission, among other things, to buy the satellite cable provider Yes, overriding antitrust issues, and to renege on its commitment to lease out its infrastructure to telecom competitors so they could provide competing fixed line and internet services.

Netanyahu could also call a snap election to try to stall legal proceedings during the campaign and rally his rightwing power base behind him.

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