Israeli police said on Tuesday that senior figures in an Israeli telecom company and close associates of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu were arrested at the weekend in a large-scale corruption investigation.
While the Prime Minister has not been named as a suspect in relation to the former corruption scandal involving an Israeli telecommunications company, he has been implicated by association after Israeli media reported he received favourable coverage for himself and his family while he was acting Minister of Communications from late 2014 to February past year.
The cases Netanyahu's aid allegedly sought to have dismissed involved his wife's alleged misuse of state funds for household and personal expenses.
A statement from the police said two men had in 2015 "approached a public official with an offer to help advance her to the position of attorney general" in return for her taking certain action "on a criminal case", with the offer never reaching fruition.
The Haaretz daily revealed that Gerstel, at the time, disclosed the offer to her friend Esther Hayut - then a judge on the Supreme Court and today Israel's chief justice.
Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber is a suspect in Case 4000, which involves suspicions Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch gave Netanyahu and his family positive coverage at his Walla news site in exchange for the advancement of policies benefiting the telecommunications giant.
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"Hefetz never made such a ludicrous offer and was never asked to do so and we can not believe he would do such a thing on his own accord", a statement issued on behalf of the prime minister read.
Bezeq's controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch is also in custody, along with his wife, son and other top Bezeq executives.
"I never asked Nir Hefetz about this, he never spoke to me about it, and you know what?"
Sara Netanyahu was under investigation at the time for a range of alleged offenses in the Prime Minister's Residence Affair.
They are suspected of promoting a deal to give Netanyahu and his wife favorable coverage in Walla, a news site controlled by Bezeq, in return for the promotion of regulations worth hundreds of millions of USA dollars to the telecom company.
Left-wing lawmakers accused the committee, headed by Yoav Kish of Netanyahu's Likud party, of trying to "terrorise" Alsheich to sway the outcomes of police work on suspicions connected to Netanyahu.
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Netanyahu has denied all charges.
Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect in the Bezeq affair, but a spokesman for his family responded to media reports on the investigation, calling them "yet another empty probe" that would yield nothing. Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu.
The revelations come just days after police said there were grounds to indict Netanyahu himself in a separate case for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust, in the biggest challenge yet to the right-wing premier's long tenure in power.
According to the police, Netanyahu and his family received goods, including jewelry, cigars, and Champaign, worth about one million shekels (282,800 dollars) from Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer.
Supporters of the premier said Alsheich's interview with Israel's Channel 2 television further weakened the public's trust in the police, perceived by some as attempting to frame Netanyahu.
The police's bombshell February 13 announcement, declaring that investigators are recommending charging the prime minister with two counts of bribery, kicked off a legal process that will take months to fully unfold.
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