Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara allegedly called for a senior official to curtail regulatory efforts to help a media mogul after she was unhappy with the way a news site he controlled was portraying the Netanyahu family, he said. Channel 12 this Sunday.
The revelations come from new leaks of transcripts of police interviews with state witness Nir Hefetz in the Case 4000 corruption investigation.
Hefetz, former aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is a key witness in the case, which involves suspicions that key assumptions put pressure on Bezeq's controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch in exchange for positive site coverage. News Walla do Bezeq. It is considered the most serious of the three graft cases faced by Netanyahu.
The transcripts seem to indicate that there was an understanding between the Netanyahu family and the Elovitch family, and Sara felt they were not fulfilling the end of the deal.
In the transcripts, Hefetz tells investigators that, at one stage, she asked him to convey a message to the then Director-General of the Ministry of Communications, Shlomo “Momo” Filber, telling him to go slow with the help of the Elovitch family because he was unhappy. with recent coverage in Walla.
“There was a meeting outside Momo's house where I told him that Sara asked him not to move too fast, that he should not run into Shaul Elovitch's problems, and that was because of the Netanyahu family's disappointment with the way Walla's website was. portraying them, ”says Hefetz.
"At one of our meetings, she told me: 'Tell Momo not to help Shaul so much.' A general phrase; and you have to say, to Netanyahu's credit, that he always emphasized that in any situation where Sara says something, it has to go through him. You don't do it unless you get his permission. I suppose Momo received similar instructions, but after she asked me, I passed on her request to Momo Hefetz tells the police.
The interrogator then asks if Hefetz deviated from Netanyahu's standing orders.
"It was kind of detour, because with Momo, it's in the family, everything is inside the inner circle. Sarah told me that (Momo) would stop helping them. Sarah is a black and white person, she has no nuances of gray. If she's mad at the Elovitch family, so stop, "said Hefetz.
“I do not remember your exact words, but the message was clear: stop helping Elovitch on Ministry of Communications issues. It was unambiguous, ”he said.
Police then asked why he felt the need to pass the message to Filber.
"I played. I should have told her to tell herself, I mean, she has contact with him and she wasn't my boss. His requests were based on the campaign that Yair (Netanyahu's son) was doing at the time, that Walla was a hostile site, that Shaul and Iris (Elovitch) were ungrateful and not genuine friends of the Netanyahu family, if that was how the site was. . was treated. "
In the transcripts, Hefetz also described how the Elovitch family became viable with criticism from Yair and Sara and asked him to intervene.
Netanyahu criticized Sunday's Channel 12 report as "another edited transcript featuring a distorted image." He also condemned the "flood of illegal leaks whose sole purpose is to hold a kangaroo trial in the court of public opinion."
The cases had almost daily leaks of transcripts from within the investigation, and in recent days there have been allegations of police misconduct in Hefetz's interrogation.
Hefetz became a state witness after being arrested and interrogated for a period of two weeks, and is believed to have provided prosecutors with important information about the period in which he acted as an informal interlocutor between Netanyahu and Elovitch.
On Sunday, Hefetz furiously stormed a court hearing over the removal of a gag order on details of the police investigation in his case.
"You're shedding my blood. Just take me to the gallows," Hefetz shouted to the Tel Aviv District Court judge for allowing an open hearing.
In the Knesset last week, Likud Justice Minister Amir Ohana violated the gag order in a speech against what he said was police misconduct by supporting Hefetz to testify against Netanyahu, revealing details of alleged illegitimate tactics of pressure used by investigators who were sealed by the court.
Filber also became a state witness
After winning the elections in 2015, Netanyahu, also the then communications minister, expelled ministry director general Avi Berger and installed Filber, a longtime ally and campaign manager.
Netanyahu is suspected of an illicit deal with Elovitch that continued for about four years until early 2017. The alleged understanding led Elovitch to secure favorable coverage of Netanyahu on Walla, Israel's second largest news site, alongside critical coverage of Netanyahu's rivals, especially in the 2013 and 2015 election periods. In return, Netanyahu allegedly intervened in regulatory and other trade decisions that benefited the Israeli tycoon by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The investigation is the most serious of the three investigations against the prime minister, as it includes a proposed bribe proposal to Netanyahu and Elovitch.
Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in all cases against him, accusing the media and the legal establishment of leading the witch hunt to expel him.
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