Po­lice grill Ne­tanyahu for fifth time

Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - By UDI SHAHAM

Po­lice ques­tioned Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu for the fifth time on Thurs­day over his in­volve­ment in cor­rup­tion cases 1000 and 2000.

In Case 1000, the “gifts af­fair,” it is sus­pected that Ne­tanyahu ac­cepted ex­pen­sive gifts from dif­fer­ent busi­ness­men. Po­lice are re­port­edly check­ing whether the busi­ness­men were re­ceiv­ing, or in­tend­ing to re­ceive, any­thing in re­turn for th­ese gifts.

In Case 2000, the “Is­rael Hayom af­fair,” Ne­tanyahu al­legedly ne­go­ti­ated with pub­lisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for fa­vor­able cov­er­age of him­self in Ye­diot Aharonot in ex­change for Mozes’s sup­port of a bill to weaken Is­rael Hayom, the largest cir­cu­la­tion He­brew-lan­guage pa­per and Ye­diot’s big­gest com­peti­tor.

In Au­gust it was re­vealed that Ne­tanyahu is sus­pected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

After the ques­tion­ing Ne­tanyahu said in his Twit­ter ac­count: “I hereby re­peat and tell tonight you with full con­fi­dence: There will be noth­ing – be­cause there was noth­ing!”

Since Ne­tanyahu was last ques­tioned in March, po­lice have made two sig­nif­i­cant moves.

In Au­gust, the prime min­is­ter’s for­mer chief of staff, Ari Harow, be­came a state’s wit­ness. Harow was con­sid­ered Ne­tanyahu’s con­fi­dant and, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, his tes­ti­mony helped shed light on cases 1000 and 2000. It was

re­ported that the in­ter­roga­tors con­fronted the prime min­is­ter with Harow’s tes­ti­mony in Thurs­day’s ques­tion­ing. The Lahav 433 unit ques­tioned the premier at his of­fi­cial res­i­dence in Jerusalem for four hours.

The sec­ond ma­jor event was the Septem­ber ques­tion­ing un­der cau­tion of in­ter­na­tional movie mogul Arnon Milchan in Lon­don. Milchan tes­ti­fied mul­ti­ple times dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and con­firmed the fact that he de­liv­ered gifts to the Ne­tanyahus over the years.

Re­ports said at the time that se­nior po­lice of­fi­cials thought it would be dif­fi­cult to as­sess Ne­tanyahu’s bribery in­dict­ment while the per­son giv­ing the bribe was not a sus­pect.

Ne­tanyahu has not de­nied ac­cept­ing gifts from Milchan but main­tained that the gifts were presents ex­changed be­tween friends and do not con­sti­tute bribery or a breach of trust. The prime min­is­ter de­nied any wrong­do­ing in the in­ci­dent.

“It is al­lowed – ac­cord­ing to the law – to re­ceive gifts from friends... Arnon Milchan and I are friends for over 20 years. We are good friends, our wives are good friends,” he said at the Knes­set in Jan­uary.

Me­dia re­ports say that there are three pos­si­bil­i­ties of how Milchan might have ben­e­fited from Ne­tanyahu’s al­leged as­sis­tance: by re­ceiv­ing a US visa, by ad­vanc­ing a free-trade zone ad­ja­cent to the Jor­da­nian bor­der or by buy­ing shares of Chan­nel 10.

An­other de­vel­op­ment in the case is the tes­ti­mony given by bil­lion­aire Is­rael

Hayom pub­lisher Shel­don Adel­son and his wife, Miriam, in June. It was re­ported by Chan­nel 10 News that this tes­ti­mony had sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic im­pli­ca­tions that could shed light on Ne­tanyahu’s in­ten­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Chan­nel 2 News, po­lice in­tend to ques­tion Ne­tanyahu at least three more time be­fore it closes the case and an­nounces whether it rec­om­mends to in­dict the prime min­is­ter or not.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Avichai Man­del­blit and State At­tor­ney Shai Nitzan will re­ceive the tran­scripts of the ques­tion­ing in the com­ing days and will make a de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the fu­ture of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

This lat­est news fol­lows the ques­tion­ing on Tues­day of Ron Der­mer, the am­bas­sador to the US, in re­la­tion to Case 1000. Der­mer was ques­tioned for in­ter­ven­ing on be­half of Ne­tanyahu and re­quest­ing a visa for Milchan from for­mer sec­re­tary of state John Kerry.

Ear­lier this week two of Ne­tanyahu’s clos­est ad­vis­ers were ques­tioned in a third case, Case 3000, the “sub­marines af­fair.”

At­tor­neys David Shim­ron and Yizhak Mol­cho were ques­tioned for four con­sec­u­tive days re­gard­ing their part in the pur­chas­ing of sub­marines and naval ves­sels from Ger­man ship­builder ThyssenKrupp.

It was re­ported by Chan­nel 10 News that the po­lice are check­ing whether Mol­cho was me­di­at­ing be­tween the Ger­man com­pany and Is­rael fol­low­ing a re­quest by ThyssenKrupp that, as a con­di­tion to the deal, it be al­lowed to build a waste­water treat­ment fa­cil­ity in Gaza, a move to which Is­rael ob­jected.

How­ever, po­lice are re­port­edly still as­sess­ing whether to ques­tion Ne­tanyahu – who is not a sus­pect in Case 3000 – over his part in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion. • Avra­ham Gold con­trib­uted to this re­port.

(Yonatan Sin­del/Flash 90)

A PO­LICE IN­VES­TI­GA­TOR’S car en­ters the con­fines of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Res­i­dence yes­ter­day.

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