Israel: Investigators Probe Likud Officials

Israeli police launched last week an investigation into senior campaign officials in the ruling Likud party for allegedly harassing a state witness in a corruption case against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Times of Israel reported Sunday.

Anti-graft investigators, according to Haaretz, questioned Jonathan Orich, the spokesman for Netanyahu and Likud, and Netanyahu’s media adviser Ofer Golan, as suspects of organizing Likud activists to provoke Shlomo Filber, a former Netanyahu’s confidant and the former head of the Communications Ministry in his government, who became a key witness in the so-called Case 4000 against the Prime Minister.

The Likud activists, according to media, parked a car near Filber’s home, then used a loudspeaker and called on him to say who made him testify against Netanyahu.

“Momo, be a man,” they shouted. “Come out, tell the truth… Momo Filber, what did they do to you to make you lie against the Prime Minister? What did they promise you?”

Netanyahu’s office only confirmed that the “persecution does not stop for a moment,” and that the goal of the complaint is to “neutralize the Prime Minister’s ability to fight public opinion against a series of leaks against him, which harm him and his associates,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

One of Netanyhu’s lawyers, Amit Hadad, reportedly rejected the allegations as “baseless,” saying “it would be better if they are not investigated at all.”

Shlomo Filber has been the state’s witness since he was arrested in February last year on suspicion of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice in Case 4000.

Filber then decided to speak out, giving the police a detailed account of the premier’s ties to a telecom magnate.

He testified, as media reported at the time, about his knowledge of how the ministry acted on Israel’s telecom giant Bezeq’s behalf, in fact, about Netanyahu’s ties with Shaul Elovitch, the company’s controlling shareholder.

Filber was reportedly suspected of granting financial benefits to Elovitch, on Netanyahu’s behalf, while Elovitch would favourably report on his Walla website about Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

Israeli authorities announced earlier this year they would indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Earlier this month, Netanyahu faced a pre-trial hearing on the Case 4000 corruption indictment but also on Case 1000, where he is alleged to have accepted thousands of dollars from a Hollywood producer and Australian casino mogul in exchange for political favours.

OCCRP | October 28th, 2019
https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/10990-israel-investigators-probe-likud-officials