Sunday, February 25, 2018

ISRAEL: Netanyahu to be interrogated by detectives this week


SPUTNIK - Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has recently found himself in deep water for two reasons at least – first, following the probe launched into two presumed corruption cases. And then, when the situation gained momentum after people took to Tel Aviv streets calling for the PM's resignation.

Benjamin Netanyahu is set to be questioned by the police this week as part of their investigation into two separate breach of trust cases. The first one, the so-called submarine affair, codenamed Case 3000, has to do with allegations of bribes, which reportedly reached over $1 billion in a German contract to provide boats and submarines to Israel.

The other involves allegations that an Israeli news media outlet owned by Bezeq, Walla! Internet portal, gave the prime minister and his spouse a favorable coverage in exchange for some benefits to the telecom giant.

This case, which goes by the name Case 4000, involves suspicions that while doubling as communications minister in 2014-2017, in addition to the prime minister’s post, Netanyahu tasked regulators to help the Bezeq group, which is controlled by Shaul Elovitch, a Polish-born Israeli magnate and owner of Eurocom Group, one of the biggest private holding groups in Israel.

Netanyahu is expected to be interrogated before his trip to the United States slated for Thursday, where he will speak at the AIPAC Policy Conference, the largest gathering of US' pro-Israel community, and meet with US President Donald Trump.


© REUTERS/ EDDIE KEOGH
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The allegations seem to be just a tip of the iceberg, with weekly anti-Netanyahu rallies rapidly gaining in number and popularity in the Israeli capital.

This Saturday, roughly 1,500 people protested in central Tel Aviv demanding the resignation of the premier over corruption allegations and recent Israeli police statements that the Prime Minister should face charges.


© AP PHOTO/ GEERT VANDEN WIJNGAERT
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The crowd was united by "Bibi Netanyahu go home" slogan. The protesters also waved signs that read "Bibi, you are not above the law,""Love Israel, separate from Netanyahu," and jointly rapped out the following: "A mafia country and a corrupt Prime Minister."

READ MORE: Turkish Analysts Say There's Reason to Believe Netanyahu is Guilty of Corruption

Earlier in February Israeli police recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be brought to court over allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Despite the public pressure and ongoing weekly protests, Netanyahu still denies all claims and dismisses universally voiced calls to resign, further escalating the social rage.

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