Israeli Police Question Netanyahu in Third Corruption Investigation

Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu

Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu

His wife, Sara, was questioned at another location at the same time as the prime minister.

The Israeli media said Bezeq Israel Telecom controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch and former Netanyahu spokesman Nir Hefetz were also being questioned.

Along with two other corruption cases, in which Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, the probes pose a serious threat to the four-term prime minister's political survival. The final choice on both instances could take weeks.

The controlling shareholder of Bezeq Telecom, Shaul Elovitch, is now in police custody, along with a former Netanyahu spokesman.They deny any wrongdoing.

About 70 protesters gathered outside the prime minister's residence, demanding he step down. Sara Netanyahu's interview took place under caution that she might be named as a suspect, the lawyer said.

Binyamin Netanyahu said he was confident that "nothing will happen" after he was questioned by police for five hours as part of a corruption investigation.

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Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the ultranationalist party Jewish Home, said that according to the law, Netanyahu can stay in the job through the end of his trial. "Let our people go free from all the corruption surrounding the administration and the head of it", Shimrit Orr, a 72-year-old writer from Tel Aviv, said. He has said he will seek a fifth term in a national election due in late 2019.

According to the police recommendation, Case 1000 involves gifts of cigars and jewelry that the prime minister and his wife are suspected of receiving from billionaire benefactors such as Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian business executive James Packer. In return, police say Netanyahu operated on Milchan's behalf on United States visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.

The second case relates to an alleged deal for favorable coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of prominent Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

In addition, authorities plan to interrogate Netanyahu about Case 3000, which investigates whether representatives of the State received bribes to favor the purchase of German-made ThyssenKrupp submarines, a deal that was not supported by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

Israel's Attorney General is weighing up that evidence and is expected to decide in a few months whether to bring charges. Recent polls show Netanyahu's Likud ahead of other factions in the Knesset. In the meantime, Netanyahu is not obligated to resign and has indicated he will fight the charges while remaining in office.

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