Key Netanyahu aide signs state witness deal in telecom probe

Tel Aviv - Nir Hefetz, long-time media advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu, signed a state's witness agreement in a telecom corruption probe, Israeli police said Monday.

Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect in the investigation, but Hefetz' arrest and subsequent state's witness agreement adds to a tangled web of corruption probes that have ensnared the embattled prime minister's closest advisors and have threatened his political survival.
The investigation, dubbed Case 4,000 by police, centres around alleged regulatory kickbacks worth up to 1 billion shekels (288 million dollars) provided to the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive news coverage of Netanyahu in Walla News, a subsidiary of Bezeq.
The prime minister has vehemently denied any wrongdoing saying that he had no influence on regulatory decisions regarding Bezeq, which were made by a professional committee.
In February, police issued the findings of a seperate investigation that lasted more than a year which alleged that Netanyahu and his family accepted nearly 300,000 dollars worth of cigars, champagne and jewellery from 2007 to 2016 from two billionares in exchange for favours.
In yet another case, police said that Netanyahu sought favourable media coverage from a newspaper publisher in exchange for moves to weaken the publisher's main competitor.
Israel's attorney general is weighing whether to press charges against the premier in a process that could take over a year.
The conservative leader maintains a strong base of support and denies all allegations claiming a media-orchestrated "witch hunt."

Monday, March 5th 2018

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