Israeli police question Netanyahu for five hours over telecoms corruption case

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office

Political analysts say this may change whether the investigations against Netanyahu intensify.

The reports said Netanyahu tried to get favourable coverage on the Walla! news site owned by Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, in exchange for policies benefitting Bezeq.

Last week, two Netanyahu confidants were arrested on suspicion of promoting regulation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bezeq telecom company.

Television footage showed police investigators entering Netanyahu's residence.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to his Facebook page Friday afternoon to wish his followers a happy Purim, and to reiterate his position that the Israeli police will not find anything incriminating in their investigations surrounding him.

Sara Netanyahu will be questioned from 8:30 am at Israel Police's Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit in Lod.

Police urged in February which Netanyahu be indicted in two other corruption analyses.

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The prime minister was questioned at his official residence in Jerusalem, while wife Sarah Netanyahu was interviewed at a different location.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in both cases and has questioned the integrity of high-ranking officers handling the investigations, calling the probes a politically motivated "witch hunt". Police have yet to make a recommendation about charges in the case.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the prosecutor Judith Tirosh said last week this is "a very serious case of allegedly giving and taking bribes, of granting sympathetic coverage - and that's an understatement that distorts reality, and of harnessing a leading website for favorable reporting and editing, in exchange for regulatory benefits by the Communications Ministry, the communications minister and the ministry director general whose value to Eurocom was between 680 million and one billion shekels [$195 million to $287 million]".

In one of the investigations, known as Case 1000, he is accused of accepting almost $300,000 in lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

In the two other cases in which police have already recommended that Netanyahu be charged, the final decision about whether or not to prosecute rests with the Israeli attorney general.

Netanyahu could also call a snap election to try to stall legal proceedings during the campaign and rally his rightwing power base behind him.

Channel 10 news reported on Thursday that investigators are in possession of correspondence between Sara Netanyahu and Elovitch's wife that appear to implicate the prime minister's wife in the burgeoning scandal.

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