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PM Under Caution: Sara Netanyahu, Son Yair say deleted texts ‘to free up space on my phone’

In her second questioning session in Case 4000, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife tells investigators her complaints to her former media advisor, Nir Hefetz, about Walla! website’s coverage of her family were ‘legitimate.’ Netanyahu’s son, Yair, tells investigators: ‘I’m a right-wing patriot and didn’t want them to write anything against my mother. What’s wrong with that?’

Benjamin, Sara and Yair Netanyahu. Photo Avi Ohayon, GPO

PM Under Caution: Three members of the Netanyahu family were questioned Monday morning as part of the Bezeq corruption case, also known as Case 4000. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met his investigators at his official residence in Jerusalem, while his wife Sara was summoned to the offices of the police’s Lahav 433 investigations unit and their son Yair was questioned for the first time at the Israel Securities Authority’s offices.

The Netanyahus were presented with details revealed testimonies given by their former media advisor, Nir Hefetz, and former Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber, who recently signed state’s witness agreements in the case, concerning favorable coverage of the family on the Walla! News website.

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Yair Netanyahu was questioned by a joint police-ISA team, after being warned that he was suspected of receiving benefits and of obstruction of investigation proceedings. Netanyahu Jr. allegedly relayed demands for favorable coverage to Walla! managers through Hefetz.

“I’m a right-wing patriot and, clearly, I didn’t want them to write anything against my mother. What’s wrong with that?” Yair told his investigators. Asked whether he had deleted text messages from his cell phone, he replied: “I didn’t delete any texts.”

Sara Netanyahu, who was questioned for the second time in Case 4000, was presented with a list of text messages she had sent Nir Hefetz, which read: “They’re leftists,” “Look at what they’re writing,” “They’re evil, they’re writing bad things about us.” Mrs. Netanyahu told her investigators in response, “It’s legitimate. As a wife, I wanted the coverage of my family to be favorable. What’s wrong with that?”

When the investigators accused her of asking Hefetz to delete text messages, she replied: “I didn’t delete specific text messages. We deleted entire files to free up space on the phone. Everyone does that.”

When the investigators told Mrs. Netanyahu they were about to confront her with Nir Hefetz, she refused, saying she didn’t want to talk to him. At this stage, despite having further evidence, the police decided not to confront Mrs. Netanyahu with the recordings Hefetz had given them.

Following his questioning, Prime Minister Netanyahu posted a video on Facebook, repeating his regular response: “There will be nothing, because there was nothing.”

“I want to wish you all a happy and kosher Passover. Enjoy it with your families. I’ll enjoy it with my family. I will celebrate this holiday with great joy, with great confidence, with a lot of haroset and zero bitter herb,” he said, referring to two traditional foods on the Passover table.

Retiring Bezeq CEO Stella Handler and Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch were also questioned Monday morning and confronted with state’s witness Hefetz.

David Sharan, the former chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office whose name has been linked to the submarine affair (Case 3000), arrived at the Lahav 433 offices on Monday as well and gave a testimony.

Over the last two weeks, Hefetz has sat with investigators who have compiled masses of testimony relating to the case, which erupted in February when the Israel Securities Authority completed its inquiry into Elovitch’s ties with Netanyahu and the suspicion he enjoyed benefits for Bezeq in return for favorable coverage of Netanyahu on the Walla! News website, which is fully owned by Bezeq.

Hefetz allegedly presented evidence to the interrogators, some of which are backed up by documents and recordings about the behind-the-scenes moves.

He identified himself as the individual who acted as the liaison between the Netanyahu family and Walla! News CEO Ilan Yeshua.

The state’s witness also provided his investigators with his cellphone which contained messages from Sara Netanyahu and recordings of other relevant officials. The recordings and messages are believed to buttress suspicions that Elovitch and Netanyahu were engaged in a quid pro quo arrangement.

By Ynet News



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