International News

Netanyahu’s confidante to testify against him in graft probe: Reports

A longtime confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly reached a deal with police to incriminate his boss during a probe into one of the four corruption cases involving the premier in return for a lighter prison sentence.
Under “Case 4000,” Netanyahu stands accused of favoring the Israeli telephone communications giant Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage on its Walla! portal, one of the most popular among Israelis.
Now, Netanyahu’s handpicked director of the former Israeli Communications Ministry, Shlomo Filber, who was arrested this week as a suspect in the case, has agreed to testify how Netanyahu ordered him to provide Bezeq with regulatory benefits, Israeli media reported Wednesday.
In exchange for his testimony, Filber has demanded not to receive an active prison sentence, the reports said.
Last week, police recommended that the prime minister be indicted for fraud, breach of trust, and bribery in two of the cases.
In Case 1000, he is suspected of having received gifts from businessmen overseas. In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of helping Yediot Aharonot newspaper against its competitor Yisrael Hayom, likewise in return for favorable coverage for the prime minister.
The indictment recommendation prompted calls among Israeli opposition leaders for Netanyahu to leave office, with the head of the Labor Party, Avi Gabbay and Yair Lapid, who chairs the opposition Yesh Atid party, urging the premier’s coalition partners to leave his ranks.
A Case 3000 is also looking into potential wrongdoing involving Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp’s local representative. Its focus is an enormous deal for the purchase of naval vessels and submarines from the company.
Earlier in the month, Israeli lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman said Netanyahu was seeking to instigate a regional war to deflect attention from the ongoing investigation into his suspected corrupt practices.
The right-wing premier has fallen out of favor with a good part of the Israelis due to the corruption cases.
Thousands of Israelis have been holding weekly protests, calling on the scandal-hit prime minister to step down.