Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel Securities Authority lawyer Ronit Tirosh on Tuesday became the first government prosecutor to publicly mention Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the context of the criminal scheme underlying the Bezeq-media Affair.
Tirosh did not accuse Netanyahu of a crime directly, the way that media reports have indicated his former aide Shlomo Filber has directly pointed the finger at him as the mastermind of the positive media coverage for positive regulatory decisions scheme.
But his even being mentioned in the context of "the very severe case of bribery... in which a leading news website was used to produce maximum positive coverage... in exchange for positive regulation by the Communications Ministry, the Communications Minister [Netanyahu] and the director-general of the Communications Ministry" was a new point in the prime minister's legal sagas.
The prosecution spokespeople played down the statement and said it was only made in the context of a pretrial theory about the detention of former Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz, as opposed to the actual criminal trial. They made it clear that the Attorney-General is still not near a decision about whether Netanyahu has committed any crimes in Case 4000.
At the same time, the prosecution's denials to The Jerusalem Post
of the likelihood of criminal charges against Netanyahu in Case 4000 have been noticeably weaker than in other cases.