Corporations warned they may face charges in Netanyahu corruption cases

Attorney general warns Bezeq, Walla News, Yedioth Aharonoth and other companies tied to Netanyahu corruption cases.

By World Israel News Staff

The Attorney General’s office will hold a hearing in advance of possible indictments against several leading Israeli companies connected to allegations of corruption leveled at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Hayom reported Wednesday.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is weighing charges including bribery, money laundering and securities fraud against the Bezeq communications company, Walla News, and a number of other companies for their alleged involvement what is known as Case 4,000. Dubbed the “Bezeq-Walla Affair,” Case 4000 alleges Netanyahu received favorable news coverage on the website owned by Bezeq in exchange for regulatory favors for the telecom giant.

The new indictments announced Wednesday are in connection with the merger of Bezeq and Walla and include Shaul Elovitch, his son Or Elovitch and several former senior executives at Bezeq and Yes, the satellite TV broadcaster owned by Bezeq.

Under Israeli law, the companies will be summoned to a preliminary hearing before the prosecutor files charges over the alleged actions of Elovitch, who had a controlling interest in Bezeq, the report said.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied the charges, saying in 2018 when the police recommended he be indicted that he didn’t give Elovitch anything and “didn’t receive anything from him,” adding that the “processes were completely proper.”

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“What we have here is simply an imaginary thing, there’s no other word for it. This is an unprecedented business in the history of business — no one gave anything and no one received anything,” Netanyahu said.

In a separate case the State Attorney’s office said it notified the Yedioth Ahronoth Group, owner of the Yediot Aharonoth newspaper and the Ynet news website, that it may face charges for unfair trade practices in Case 2,000. The indictment in that case alleges Netanyahu and the paper’s publisher Arnon Mozes conspired to limit the activity of Israel Hayom, Yedioth‘s biggest competition, also in exchange for giving Netanyahu positive news coverage.

The prime minister is also facing charges in Case 1,000, which includes allegations that Netanyahu accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of champagne and cigars from billionaire friends.

Sources close to Netanyahu told Israel Hayom that the new charges against the communications companies in Case 2,000 showed that “Mandelblit realized that Case 4,000 is dying and is trying to artificially resuscitate it through a major bluff.”

“It’s clear to everyone that Mandelblit does not intend to try the corporations, and the only reason for his announcement is an attempt to distract attention from his selective enforcement against the prime minister,” the sources said.