Two Netanyahu aides arrested on suspicion of bribing judge

By Daniel Uria  |  Feb. 20, 2018 at 8:14 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Israeli police targeted associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the latest corruption investigation involving the leader and his inner circle Tuesday.

Police said they arrested two people on suspicion of corruption for approaching a "senior public member" in 2015 with an offer to make that person attorney if she agreed to close several pending cases against the prime minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu.

The cases Netanyahu's aid allegedly sought to have dismissed involved his wife's alleged misuse of state funds for household and personal expenses.

Netanyahu's associates urged a friend of retired district court judge Hila Gerstel to meet with her and offer her the position of attorney general, which she ultimately didn't receive, police said.

Gerstel was shocked by the attempted bribe and told then-Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut about it.

Police didn't offer the identities of either suspect, but Netanyahu revealed one to be his former family spokesperson, Nir Hefetz, while denying the allegations.

"Hefetz never made such a ludicrous offer and was never asked to do so, and we cannot believe he would do such a thing on his own accord," Netanyahu said.

Hefetz was arrested in a separate case known as Case 4000 on suspicion of bribery and obstruction of justice.

Seven unnamed associates of Netanyahu and senior figures of Bezeq Telecommunications Co. were arrested on Sunday on suspicion they intervened with regulators.

Evidence suggests two of Netanyahu's associates and perhaps Netanyahu himself helped Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch by intervening with government media regulators in exchange for Elovitch providing favorable coverage of the prime minister and his wife in two media platforms he owns -- the Walla! News Portal and Bezeq.

Last week Israeli police sent a recommendation to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that Netanyahu be indicted in two corruption cases, saying they are in "unanimous agreement" that Netanyahu accepted bribes and illicit gift and acted "against public interests."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories