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Number of Netanyahus questioned over bribery allegations rises to three

PM's 26-year-old son Yair is questioned by police

    Yair, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu
    Yair, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Flash90)

    Three members of the Netanyahu family were questioned under police caution this week in connection to allegations the prime minister received positive media coverage in exchange for regulatory support.  

    It was the ninth time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the sixth occasion his wife Sara was quizzed by Israeli police, but Monday marked the first time their 26-year-old son Yair was also included.

    The Netanyahus are accused of receiving bribes in the shape of favourable coverage on the Walla! website from its owner Bezeq chairman Shaul Alovich.

    In return, Mr Netanyahu is alleged to have approved regulatory decisions in Bezeq's favour that were worth hundreds of millions of shekels to Mr Alovich.  

    For security reasons, Mr Netanyahu was questioned at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, while his wife and son separately attended the police's national investigations unit in Lod, southeast of Tel Aviv.

    EXPLAINED: The five corruption allegations facing Benjamin Netanyahu

    Mr Alovich, his wife and two state witnesses – Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber, who was Mr Netanyahu's election campaign manager and Nir Hefetz, the prime minister's former spin-doctor – who have agreed to testify against the prime minister are also responding to questions in the inquiry.

    While there is no dispute over the coverage that the Netanyahus received in Walla! and the decisions in favour of Bezeq, Mr Netanyahu insists there was no connection between the two and that all his decisions made at the Communications Ministry were taken on the basis of professional recommendations. 

     Yair Netanyahu, their 26 year-old son is believed by police to have also been involved in demanding more favourable coverage from Walla! and having allegedly been aware of the decisions made in Bezeq's favour.  

     “I have complete confidence that there will be nothing, because there was nothing,” the elder Mr Netanyahu said after the questioning.

    “I will celebrate this festival (Pesach) with great joy, in great confidence, with a lot of Charoset and no maror.”

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