Israeli police on Tuesday said they suspect a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of offering a sitting judge a top posting in exchange for dropping a corruption case against Netanyahu’s wife.
The development marks the latest scandal to engulf the beleaguered Israeli leader’s inner circle. Netanyahu already stands accused of bribery in two some other cases.
Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman of the Netanyahu family, can be suspected of suggesting to Judge Hila Gerstel that will she could be appointed attorney general if she killed a pending case against Sara Netanyahu’s excessive household spending.
The offer never materialized.
Earlier, police named Hefetz as one of two Netanyahu associates under arrest for their suspected role in a separate wide-ranging corruption probe.
Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in addition to says the latest charges against him were merely a continuation of a wider media orchestrated witch hunt against him in addition to his family.
“Nir Hefetz never presented This particular ludicrous offer to the prime minister in addition to his wife, he was never asked by them to make such an offer in addition to we can’t imagine that will Hefetz might even imagine such a thing,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier Tuesday, with an initial gag order lifted, police identified Hefetz in addition to Shlomo Filber, the former director of the communications ministry under Netanyahu, as the two suspects in promoting regulation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel’s Bezeq telecom company, in return for favorable coverage of Netanyahu in a highly common subsidiary news site.
Netanyahu, who held the communications portfolio until last year, has not yet been named as a suspect inside case nevertheless can be likely to be questioned.
Bezeq’s controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch can be also in custody, along with his wife, son in addition to some other top Bezeq executives. Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain via negative reporting of Netanyahu.
The completely new probe comes days after police announced there was sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud in addition to breach of trust in two separate cases.
Netanyahu can be accused of receiving lavish gifts via Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan in addition to Australian billionaire James Packer. In return, police say Netanyahu had operated on Milchan’s behalf on U.S. visa matters, legislated a tax break in addition to connected him with an Indian businessman.
inside second case, Netanyahu can be accused of offering a newspaper publisher legislation that will might weaken his paper’s main rival in return for more favorable coverage.
Netanyahu has long accused the Israeli press corps of being biased against him in addition to has taken steps to counter the idea by promoting more sympathetic outlets to him.