A figure close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to turn state’s witness in a case investigating alleged corrupt dealings between the government and telecom group Bezeq – the latest blow to a leader engulfed by several scandals.
Communications Ministry head Shlomo Filber – identified by Israeli media as a ‘confidant’ of the Prime Minister was arrested on Monday along with several executives at Bezeq – the country’s biggest telecoms group.
It is alleged Walla – a news website owned by the company – gave Mr Netanyahu’s government favourable coverage in exchange for regulatory benefits.
The Australian casino owner James Packer and the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan probably never imagined they would be running a free drinks delivery service for the Israeli prime minister and his wife.
But when Sara Netanyahu called an assistant of the two men to say the drinks had run out it was the signal for Packer and Milchan to renew the supplies of champagne – courtesy of their own wallets and a private driver – according to alleged testimony in an investigation into sleaze claims against Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the reports – first carried by Israel’s Channel 2 and Channel 10 on Monday night – Hadas Klein – an assistant to both Packer and Milchan – has given evidence describing how the Netanyahus would routinely call demanding cigars – champagne and even that the bill be paid for a building inspector.
While the Israeli prime minister has repeatedly denied the items represented anything more than goodwill between friends – the leak suggests that the Netanyahus always initiated the favours.