Former Netanyahu aide Nir Hefetz may turn state's witness

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

Hefetz is a key figure in two affairs in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of corruption.

It emerged this morning that Nir Hefetz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former media adviser, who was very close to the prime minister and his wife Sara Netanyahu, is negotiating a state's witness agreement with the State Prosecutor's Office.

If Hefetz, who himself is suspected of taking and offering bribes in Case 4000 and Case 1270 , becomes a state's witness, he will be the third Netanyahu associate to give evidence against him in the cases in which he is a suspect. Case 4000 concerns alleged favorable treatment of Bezeq in return for favorable coverage for the prime minister by Bezeq subsidiary Walla! News. Case 1270 concerns the alleged offer of the job of Attorney General to Judge Hila Gerstl in return for dropping charges against Sara Netanyahu.

Netanyahu's former chief of staff Ari Harow is a state's witness in Case 1000 (gifts to Netanyahu from Arnon Milchan and others) and Case 3000 (submarines). Shlomo Filber, who was director general of the Ministry of Communications when Netanyahu was also serving as Minister of Communications, recently signed a state's witness agreement in Case 4000. Harow and Filber have already given detailed and apparently incriminating testimony against Netanyahu. Similar testimony from Hefetz could be the final blow to Netanyahu's chances of extricating himself from the suspicions against him.

Hefetz was summoned for further questioning this morning at the Israel Police Lahav 433 fraud unit, after being freed to house arrest yesterday. The police have extended heavy pressure on him to turn state's witness since the affair broke, and it now seems that their efforts have borne fruit.

If Hefetz does become a state's witness, his lawyer, Adv. Yaron Kostelitz, intends to stop representing him. Kostelitz worked for years at the firm of Adv. Jacob Weinroth, and is a protege of Weinroth, who represents Netanyahu. Kostelitz said today, "I don't represent state's witnesses. I am not aware of Nir being a state's witness."

The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 5, 2018

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

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