Police name Benjamin Netanyahu associates in Israeli corruption probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses American Jewish leaders at a conference in Jerusalem

A longtime confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau is expected to sign a deal to turn state's witness in the coming hours in the corruption investigation known as Case 4000, Hadashot TV news reported Tuesday, as the Israeli leader released a new video denying the " simply baseless" allegations against him.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in all the cases.

Hefetz is suspected of suggesting, through a middleman, to Judge Hila Gerstel in 2015 that she could be appointed attorney general if she dismissed a pending case against Sara Netanyahu's excessive household spending.

If Netanyahu is implicated, that would make this the third case now under investigation he's directly tied to.

Details of the allegations, first reported by veteran journalist Ben Caspit and widely picked up in the Israeli press, were partially confirmed by a police statement, though it did not name the prime minister or his aide directly. Police said Tuesday she had given testimony as part of their investigation.

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.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Netanyahu - who has described the investigations against him as a "witch hunt" - said: "There has never been any payback or illegal act in interaction with Elovitch".

"If you meet with Justice Gerstel in a closed room and ask her to close the investigation against Sara Netanyahu in exchange for her appointment as attorney general, what would her response be?"

Netanyahu rejected the suspicions and said they had no substance.

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Earlier on Tuesday, Hefetz was identified as a central suspect in another case.

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 US dollars to the telecom company.

Bezeq Chairman Shaul Elovitch is also in custody, along with his wife, son and other Bezeq executives.

Police suspect Elovitch was granted business concessions in return for Netanyahu receiving positive coverage on Walla!, a news website he owns.

"This is a new investigation in the Bezeq case as a result of evidence raised in the ISA investigation", a joint statement from the police and Israel Securities Authority or ISA said.

At home, opponents from the Israeli left are demanding he resign or declared himself "incapacitated" and "even Israel's enemies have begun seizing on Netanyahu's legal predicament", says The New York Times.

Netanyahu not only enjoys the administration's sympathy and its sense of forgiveness, but is also in a position to leverage his warm welcome in the U.S.to help paper over his political troubles at home, where recommendations to indict a sitting prime minister are not viewed lightly. "Let him choose whatever path is convenient for him", Lapid said.

Last week, police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted for fraud, breach of trust, and bribery in two other cases.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife are alleged to have received illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, totaling NIS 1 million ($282,000). In return, police say Netanyahu operated on Milchan's behalf on USA visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.

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