JERUSALEM – Senior officials at Israel’s largest telecom company, Bezeq, have been arrested over allegations of corruption, Israeli police announced on Sunday, without providing further details because of a gag order imposed on the case.
The arrests came amid police investigations involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and local media reported that two of the prime minister’s assistants had also been arrested.
The police said in a statement that a new investigation linked to the Bezeq case had been launched, and that the organized crime and fraud unit, which conducts criminal and corruption investigations, was in charge of the probe, along with the Israel Securities Authority.
Authorities had been investigating whether Bezeq’s owner, Shaul Elovitch, was involved in corruption and trading favors.
According to the daily Haaretz, Elovitch, who also owns the news website Walla!, had allegedly instructed his employees to give Netanyahu and his wife favorable coverage in exchange for benefits for the company.
The former director-general of Israel’s communications ministry, Shlomo Filber, was accused of allowing Bezeq to illegally purchase shares of satellite television service provider Yes.
Netanyahu had not been named as a suspect in the case, but Kan radio reported that he could be questioned “under caution,” a term that means he could face charges and that anything said to investigators could be used against him in court.