Remanded former Netanyahu media advisor refusing to talk with investigators

The police want Prime Minister Netanyahu's former media adviser to testify in the Bezeq and Gerstl-A-G probes.

February 23, 2018 07:14
2 minute read.
Former Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz

Former Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

In a discussion on extending the remand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former media adviser Nir Hefetz on Thursday, a police representative said that he “is not cooperating, and keeping to his right to remain silent” in the police investigation known as “Case 4000.”

Known as the “Bezeq-Walla Case,” 4000 looks into the relationship between Netanyahu and Bezeq controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch, who also owns the Walla! News website.

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Police suspect that Netanyahu acted to benefit Bezeq in return for favorable coverage in Walla.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extended Hefetz’s remand until Sunday.

Hefetz is suspected of bribery and obstruction of justice. He is at the center of both the “Bezeq-Walla case,” and in the police case that looks into an alleged attempt to appoint judge Hila Gerstl as the attorney-general in 2015, in return for closing the police cases involving Sara Netanyahu, which has been dubbed Case 1270.

Police see Hefetz as “an asset” and they are trying to pressure him into signing a state’s witness deal, Channel 2 News reported.

It was said the Hefetz could be valuable for police in all the probes involving the prime minister – cases 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000.

Hefetz complained to the judge about the conditions in which he is held. He was quoted as saying that he was refused medical treatment when requested, and that in one Also on Thursday, the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extended Elovitch’s remand by five days.

Elovitch’s attorney Jack Chen said that during his client’s questioning, police threatened him that once the investigation is over, he will complete his life as a guard in a supermarket.

Chen said at the court discussion that the interrogators “woke him [Elovitch] up at 4 a.m. and questioned him for 11 hours... The right thing to do is to see how we can end put an end to this suffering as soon as possible,” the lawyer told the judge.

The detention of suspended Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber – who signed a state’s witness deal earlier this week and is expected to incriminate Netanyahu – was extended by 15 days, with his consent.

Filber is reportedly staying in a special facility while his testimony is collected by the police.

It was previously reported that as part of the state’s witness deal, there will be no criminal charges against Filber. However, he will be reprimanded by the Civil Service Commission and be banned from working for the state.

Yediot Aharonot reported on Thursday that Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua gave police recordings of conversations between him and Elovitch, in which Elovitch pressures Yeshua to give favorable coverage of Netanyahu and his family.

The report said that in the recording it could be heard clearly how Elovitch explicitly instructs the Walla CEO how to edit items on the website.

Channel 10 News reported that in these recording Elovitch tells Yeshua that favorable coverage for Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu would affect the fate of Bezeq.

It also quotes a senior law enforcement official who said that this recording might have been the trigger for Fliber’s decision to sign the state’s witness deal.

Channel 10 News reported that these recording persuaded Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to transfer the case from the Israel Securities Authority to the Israel Police.

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