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Israeli Telecom Officials Arrested As Netanyahu Corruption Investigations Widen

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Police’s corruption unit and the Israel Securities Authority have opened an investigation into the Israel telecommunications company Bezeq, part of an ongoing corruption investigation involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Several suspects reportedly were arrested on Sunday as part of the investigation, called Case 4000, in part looking into whether Netanyahu had a relationship with the company.  Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect in the case.

The Israel Securities Authority recently completed an investigation into Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch’s ties with Netanyahu and the allegation that he received political favors for Bezeq in return for favorable coverage of Netanyahu on the Walla! News website, owned by Bezeq.

A gag order was placed on details of the arrests.

In a filing with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday, Bezeq confirmed that senior company had been arrested.

The suspended director general of the Ministry of Communications, Shlomo Filber, who was previously questioned in the Bezeq case, was among those arrested Sunday, his attorney confirmed to the Globes business publication. Two former associates who worked in the Prime Minister’s office reportedly also were detained by the Israel Securities Authority on Sunday for questioning.

Walla! News CEO Ilan Yeshua and former editor-in-chief Yinon Magal also were asked to testify Sunday over the suspicion of favorable coverage, Ynet reported.

“This is another false claim. The prime minister didn’t act for Elovitch’s and Bezeq’s benefit, not for favorable coverage and not for anything else,” read a statement issued on Netanyahu’s behalf

Netanyahu is expected to be questioned in connection with the case, Haaretz reported; he not been named as a suspect in the case.

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