Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A close aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu testified for prosecutors Wednesday in an ongoing corruption scandal involving the leader.
Communications Minister Shlomo Filber agreed Tuesday to turn state's witness, and potentially incriminate Netanyahu.
Filber was among several people who testified Wednesday at a hearing of the Israel Securities Agency, which is investigating whether Netanyahu provided licensing favors to an Israeli media company in exchange for favorable press treatment.
The fast-moving scandal could potentially end the career of Netanyahu, who is contesting two other bribery accusations. Filber agreed to testify that Netanyahu ordered him to provide regulatory benefits to Bezeq, an Israeli telephone company, in exchange for positive news coverage on the Walla news website. Walla is owned by Shaul Elovitch, a major Bazeq shareholder.
Police approved Filber's request that he not serve jail time in exchange for his testimony. Editors and executives at Walla also testified Tuesday and Wednesday. One, Ilan Yashua, testified that Elovitch gave an order to give favorable press coverage to Netanyahu and his family.
Netanyahu was Israel's acting communications minister when several controversial deals were made with Elovitch. One involved Elovitch's purchase of satellite cable provider Yes, despite antitrust objections raised by ministry officials. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.
Elovitch is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu's former media adviser, is suspected of bribe-taking and obstruction of justice.
The case is known as Case 4000. In a prior case, Case 1000, Netanyahu is accused of receiving illicit gifts in exchange for favors. In Case 2000, he is accused of trading favors with the editor of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth for favorable coverage.
Police recommended last week that Netanyahu be prosecuted on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges.