Former Netanyahu media adviser turns state’s witness in corruption investigation


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A former media adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu and his family has turned state’s witness in a corruption investigation, which could strengthen the case against the prime minister.

Nir Hefetz signed the state’s witness agreement on Sunday night, the Israel Police said in a statement Monday afternoon. Hefetz was released from police detention on Sunday after two weeks in jail. He will remain under house arrest until March 13.

Hefetz is a suspect in the investigation dubbed Case 4000, or the Bezeq corruption probe, according to reports. Both Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, were questioned separately in relation to the case, each for about five hours on Friday.

Shlomo Filber, the suspended director general of the Ministry of Communications, turned state’s witness last month in the same investigation. In exchange for a lighter sentence, Filber agreed to provide police with information about Netanyahu’s part in the case, which alleges that Shaul Elovitch, the majority shareholder of Bezeq, received political favors for the Israeli telecommunications giant in return for favorable coverage of Netanyahu on the Walla! news website owned by the company.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in the case and others against him.

Last month, the Israel Police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in two other  corruption cases. State prosecutors must decide whether or not to file indictments.

Netanyahu currently is in the United States, where he is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump and address the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C.

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