Netanyahu aide allegedly tried to bribe judge

Nir Hefetz Photo: Shlomi Yosef

Nir Hefetz is suspected of offering to make Hila Gerstl attorney general in exchange for dropping the case against Sara Netanyahu.

In the course of the investigation of the Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ) affair (Case 4000), suspicions were also found that Nir Hefetz offered Judge (ret.) Hila Gerstl the post of Attorney General in late 2015. According to information obtained by Israel Police, Hefetz arranged a meeting with one of Gerstl's associates and made the offer in the form of a question: What would the judge answer to it?"

A gag order has applied to the particulars of the affair up until now, but at the request of the police, the court relaxed the restriction and allowed publication of some particulars about the alleged bribe under investigation.

Following an intensive covert investigation into suspected crimes, including public corruption, the police said yesterday that two additional suspects besides Hefetz had been arrested in the affair.

Unsuccessful offer to Gerstl

The police stated, "In the course of the investigation, suspicion grew that these offenses had been committed in late 2015, when a senior public servant offered to promote her appointment as Attorney General by influencing the appointment process in her favor, allegedly in exchange for a promise by the candidate concerning a future decision in a certain criminal case in which the suspects were interested. According to the evidence collected to date, this approach to the candidate was unsuccessful." The police were referring to the case against Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister's wife.

The investigation is continuing under the guidance of the Tel Aviv District State Attorney taxation and economic department. Evidence was taken from those involved in the investigation, and Gerstl herself "gave open evidence about the course of affairs."

Complete denial

A representative of the prime minister said in response, "Nir Hefetz never made this imaginary proposal to the prime minister and his wife, was never asked by them to make such a proposal, and we do not believe that Hefetz even considered such a thing. The next thing in store is accusing the Netanyahus of murdering Arlozorov (Haim Arlozorov, murdered in 1933, E. L.-W.)."

Hefetz also reportedly denied the report, and told the interrogators, "It is a complete fabrication."

Will Hefetz be released from arrest this week?

The police today asked the court to extend the remand of Hefetz by another week beyond the remand until this Thursday ordered early this week. The court, however, rejected the request. As of now, according to today's court ruling, Hefetz is due to be released on Thursday.

Belief is growing that the state will try to convince Hefetz and/or Ministry of Communications director general Shlomo Filber to turn state's witness in Case 4000. Hefetz's lawyer, Advocate Yaron Kosteliz, addressed the speculations concerning a state's witness agreement, saying, "A total invention," and used the same expression concerning the suspicion that his client had offered a bribe to Gerstl.

Another strategic Netanyahu advisor, Eli Kamir, who is suspected of making the offer to Gerstl in Hefetz's name, and who is also linked to the earlier Bezeq investigation, was released to house arrest today. At the same time, the police are appealing his release. In the hearing on the requested extension of the remand, Judge Ala Masarwa said, "The evidence links him to involvement in the second circle." Concerning Hefetz, the judge said, "The alleged event is a grave one, but at the same time, the event is an isolated one, and the investigation is not being extended."

Parade of witnesses continues

While the parade of suspects is constantly growing, the parade of witnesses giving evidence in the Bezeq affair in the offices of the Israel Securities Authority continues to lengthen. Likud spokesperson Shai Hayek and Walla! website news department head Michal Klein gave evidence there today.

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - - on February 20, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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Nir Hefetz Photo: Shlomi Yosef
Nir Hefetz Photo: Shlomi Yosef
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