Israeli Media: Netanyahu Confidant Turns State Witness in Corruption Probe

Shlomo Filber left was an adviser to the prime minister for more than 20 years

Shlomo Filber left was an adviser to the prime minister for more than 20 yearsREUTERS

In a new twist to the case, Filber and another Netanyahu aide were detained earlier this week as investigators probe whether the ministry helped Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage of Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on the company's Walla! news outlet.

Filber's arrest comes in the midst of a series of corruption investigations against Netanyahu, as well as his family and associates.

ONE of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest confidants has agreed to testify against him in a graft probe, Israeli police said yesterday, in a fresh threat to his long tenure.

Filber is suspected of mediating between Netanyahu and Elovitch and promoting regulatory changes worth millions to Bezeq. Nir Hefetz was arrested Sunday in connection with Case 4000.

Shlomo Filber, the suspended director general of the Ministry of Communications, agreed in exchange for a lighter sentence to provide police with information about Netanyahu's part in the so-called Case 4000, which alleges that Shaul Elovitch, majority shareholder of Bezeq, received political favors for the Israeli telecommunications giant in return for favorable coverage of Netanyahu on the Walla! news website owned by the company.

Police last week announced they have sufficient evidence to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.

Another new case, 1270, relates to an alleged attempt to bribe a judge to drop a corruption case against Netanyahu's wife, Sara.

Netanyahu, 68, has rejected all the allegations, and released a new video on his Facebook page late Tuesday strongly denying any wrongdoing.

Opposition leaders like Tzipi Livni are calling on the Israeli leader to resign. Quoting a biblical phrase referring to the ancient Egyptians' treatment of the Jews, he said: "The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread".

Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointee, will make the final decision on whether to file charges — a process that is expected to take several months.

"Always in the shadows, always loyal, efficient, secretive and ideological, Bibi (Netanyahu) knew that he could count on Momo". He also intends to seek a fifth term in office in 2019's general election.

Under the headline "The smell of elections", the pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom published a poll suggesting Likud might jump from 30 to 34 seats in Israel's 120-seat parliament despite the allegations hanging over him.

"It's very unpleasant", Arens said regarding the suspicions against Netanyahu, "I can only hope that this is not the case, I am an engineer and not a lawyer, and I have the patience to wait for law enforcement to finish their work".

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