Police on Sunday said senior officials in the Bezeq phone company were arrested over the weekend in a graft probe involving close associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a “dramatic” development was reported over the weekend in the case.
In a statement, police said “a number” of high-ranking officials in Israel’s national telephone company Bezeq were detained in the so-called Case 4000.
Two “very close” associates of the prime minister were also arrested, Hebrew-language media reported. The arrests came less than a week after police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two separate graft probes.
“Following evidence discovered by the Israel Securities Authority in the investigation of the Bezeq case, which raised suspicions that additional offenses had been committed, a new investigation was initiated this morning by investigators from the authority and from Lahav 433,” said police on Sunday, referring to its anti-fraud unit.
“A number of suspects have been arrested as part of the investigation, including senior officials in the Bezeq group,” it added.
In a filing with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday, Bezeq confirmed that senior officials at the Bezeq group had been arrested, as part of a new joint investigation between the Israel Securities Authority and the police.
A gag order has been imposed on other details of the investigation, the company said, adding that the firm has no further information on the nature and circumstances of the investigation.
In the case, police suspect that Shaul Elovitch, owner of the Walla news site and the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, swayed coverage of Netanyahu on the news site in exchange for benefits for Bezeq.
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