Police investigators arrive at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence.
(photo credit: YONATHAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Police interrogators from the Lahav 433 unit arrived at the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday evening to question him over his involvement in police cases 1000 and 2000.
This is the fifth round of questioning for the prime minister in these police cases.
In Case 1000 (also known as the "Gifts Affair”), it is suspected that Netanyahu received expensive gifts from different businessmen. In Case 2000 (dubbed the "Israel Hayom Affair
”), he allegedly negotiated with publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for favorable coverage of himself in the newspaper Yediot Aharonot
in exchange for Mozes' support of a bill to weaken Israel Hayom
, the largest circulation Hebrew-language newspaper and Yediot
’s bitter competitor.
In August it was revealed that Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Since Netanyahu's last questioning in March, police made two significant moves.
In August, the prime minister’s former chief of staff Ari Harow became a state’s witness. Harow was considered a close confidant to Netanyahu, and according to reports, his testimony helped to shed light over both case 1000 and 2000. It was reported that the interrogators are expected to confront the prime minister with Harow’s testimony in Thursday’s questioning.
The second major event is the the questioning under caution of international movie mogul Arnon Milchan in London in September. Milchan testified multiple times during the investigation and confirmed the fact that he delivered gifts to the Netanyahu couple over the years.
Reports said at the time that senior police officials thought it would be difficult to assess Netanyahu's bribery indictment while the person giving the bribe was not a suspect.
Netanyahu has not denied accepting gifts from Milchan but maintained that the gifts were presents exchanged between friends and do not constitute bribery or a breach of trust. The prime minister denied any wrongdoing in the incident.
Media reports say that there are three possibilities of how Milchan might have benefited from Netanyahu’s alleged assistance: receiving an American Visa, advancing a free trade zone adjacent to the Jordanian border and buying shares of Channel 10.
This latest news follows the questioning of Ron Dermer
, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, on Tuesday by Israeli authorities in relation to Case 1000. Dermer was questioned for intervening on behalf of Netanyahu and requesting a visa for Milchan from former United States Secretary of State John Kerry.
Earlier this week two of Netanyahu’s closest confidants were questioned in a third case, Case 3000, which was dubbed the “submarines affair.”
Attorneys David Shimron and Yizhak Molcho were questioned regarding their part in the purchasing of submarines and naval vessels from the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp.
It was reported by Channel 10 News that the police are checking if Molcho was mediating between the German company and Israel, following a request by ThyssenKrupp that as a condition to the deal, it build a wastewater treatment facility in Gaza, a move to which Israel objected.
However, police are reportedly still assessing whether to questioned Netanyahu - who is not a suspect in Case 3000 - over his part in this investigation. Avraham Gold contributed to this report.