Israel extends detention of two suspects in Netanyahu corruption probe

Israel extends detention of two suspects in Netanyahu corruption probe
Two suspects in Netanyahu's corruption case had their detention extended by an Israeli court as developments threaten to topple the beleaguered leader.
2 min read
23 February, 2018
Elovitch is a major shareholder of Israel's telecom giant Bezeq [Getty]

The detention of an Israeli media tycoon and a former advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu implicated in a corruption case were extended by an Israeli court on Friday.

A Tel Aviv judge ordered that Nir Hefetz, a former media aide to Netanyahu, and Shaul Elovitch, remain in custody until Monday.

The two are accused of being involved in the promotion of regulation valued at hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel's telecom giant, Bezeq, of which Elovitch is a major shareholder.

Walla - Bezeq's popular news site - allegedly provided favourable coverage of Netanyahu and his family in return.

Separately, Hefetz is suspected of attempting to bribe a judge in exchange for dropping a corruption case against Netanyahu's wife.

Another Netanyahu confidant, the former director of the Communications Ministry Shlomo Filber, who was arrested this week, has turned state's witness, major Israeli media outlets reported on Wednesday.

Netanyahu has denied all corruption allegations, calling them part of a media witch hunt.

The accusations however appear to have taken a toll, with senior cabinet ministers who had previously been outspoken in their defence, largely going silent. 

The cases have given new fuel to opposition calls for Netanyahu to step aside.

Netanyahu dismissed the investigations as "delusional, fabricated claims" that are part of an "orchestrated campaign" against him and vowed to "continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly, discreetly and with great dedication".