Sunday, February 18, 2018

Telecom Execs With Ties to Israeli PM Busted as Corruption Scandal Unfolds

Sputnik | Feb 18, 2018

© REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh
The Israel Securities Authorities has opened an investigation into allegations that the country's largest telecommunications company Bezeq received benefits so as to deal with positive media coverage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Several senior executives from the Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, including two close associates of Benjamin Netanyahu, have been arrested as part of the corruption probe into the Israeli Prime Minister's alleged corruption activities.

The detainees include Communications Ministry Director General Shlomo Filbert, who is accused of handing confidential documents to Bezeq to add to the company's favorable treatment and provide positive media coverage of Netanyahu.

Police also nabbed Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, who is suspected of communicating with the Israeli Prime Minister.

© REUTERS/ Amir Cohen
The logo of Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp Ltd, the country's largest telecom group, is seen outside their headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel June 21, 2017
The arrests came just a few days after the Israeli police said that they had collected enough evidence to support claims that Netanyahu committed fraud and took bribes.

The police promised to hand over the relevant investigative materials and its indictment recommendations to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Right now, Netanyahu faces charges of accepting expensive gifts from wealthy supporters, in the form of cigars, champagne and jewelry in return for advancing their interests.

The second investigation looks into allegations that Netanyahu arranged to obtain favorable coverage from the popular newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in return for creating problems for its rival, the Israel Hayom paper.

 Additionally, the Israeli Prime Minister may be accused of alleged involvement in a multimillion dollar submarine deal with German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp. Netanyahu vehemently denies any wrongdoing, claiming that he is the victim of a smear campaign launched by his political opponents.

Late December saw thousands of people protesting in the streets in Tel Aviv to demand Netanyahu's resignation over alleged corruption, in the "March of Shame" demonstration which continued for the fourth consecutive week at the time.

The beginning of January saw the continuation of anti-corruption protests against Netanyahu, with more than 2,000 people taking to the streets in Tel Aviv.

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