Main suspects released from prison after questioning in Netanyahu corruption case

The owner of Israel’s main telecommunications company and a former aide to the prime minister were released from prison with restrictions concerning Case 4000.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two main suspects in the police probe dubbed Case 4000 were released Sunday from custody after 15 days of imprisonment and questioning over alleged corrupt activities at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Shaul Elovitch, owner of Bezeq, Israel’s telecommunications company, and Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu’s former media adviser, were released to house arrest for 10 days. They are not allowed to leave the country for six months and are prohibited from talking to any of the other suspects in the case for three months.

This follows the five-hour-long, initial interrogation of the prime minister and his wife in separate locations on Friday regarding their alleged roles in the case.

After being questioned, Netanyahu published a post on his Facebook page, saying, “A moment before Shabbat begins, I’d like to tell you that I feel confident that there won’t be anything” – similar to previous statements he has made concerning the other graft cases against him.

He added, “I’d like to tell you—the millions of Israel who have voiced such strong support of me, my wife and my family—something else: you warm our hearts.” He was likely referring to polls showing that if elections were held today, he would win.

The prime minister projected a “business as usual” demeanor as he flew on Sunday to the United States to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House and address the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobbying organization, AIPAC. The main points to be discussed, he said before take-off, are Iran’s “aggression, its nuclear aspirations, and its aggressive actions in the Middle East in general and on our borders.”

Case 4000 centers on suspicion that as owner of Walla! News, Elovitch pressured his CEO, Ilan Yeshua, to arrange positive coverage of Netanyahu on the news site in exchange for the prime minister working to advance regulations that would benefit Elovitch in his role as Bezeq’s main shareholder. Sara Netanyahu is alleged to have pressured Elovitch’s wife, Iris, regarding the news coverage.

The Netanyahus denied any wrongdoing on their part.

The former director of the Communications Ministry, Shlomo Filber, agreed over a week ago to become a state’s witness against Netanyahu.