Ex-Netanyahu spokesman arrested in Israeli corruption probe

The new bribery case was one of two revealed on Tuesday involving the same former spokesman, a close Netanyahu confidant. She has been accused of dipping into government coffers to pay for private chefs, a caregiver for her father and the hiring an electrician for unnecessary weekend work, allegations she denies.

"As for the second claim which is no less preposterous and no less perfidious regarding appointment of the Attorney General: "I never asked Nir Hefetz about this, he never offered me anything about it, and you know what?"

Netanyahu, who was the Communications Minister until 2017, is now not a suspect in this affair, according to the police, but local media widely reported that he is expected to be questioned in the recent days.

Filber is a suspect in Case 4000, which involves suspicions Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch gave Netanyahu and his family positive coverage at his Walla news site in exchange for the advancement of policies benefiting the telecommunications giant.

Netanyahu also released a response statement denying the existence of the deal.

Last September Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said he was considering indicting Sara Netanyahu for fraud over suspected use of state funds for personal dining and catering services amounting to some $100,000.

The prime minister rejected the allegation about the attempt to bribe the judge, calling it "hallucinatory".

Nir Hefetz, a former spokesman of the Netanyahu family, is suspected of suggesting to Judge Hila Gerstel that she could be appointed attorney general if she killed a pending case against Sara Netanyahu's excessive household spending. "I can not believe he raised this possibility with anyone", Netanyahu said. Elovitch is a family friend of the Netanyahus.

Five others central figures at Bezeq, including the company's controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, have also been arrested on suspicion of giving bribes.

Hefetz was among seven people arrested on Sunday, just days after police said there were grounds to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust, in the biggest challenge yet to the right-wing premier's long tenure in power. In return, Netanyahu is alleged by police to have intervened on Milchan's behalf in matters relating to legislation, business dealings, and visa arrangements.

Both Hefetz and the unidentified intermediary who made the offer are set to be questioned on the matter on Tuesday, Israeli media outlets said.

Netanyahu, who has maintained his normal working schedule and is due to meet US President Donald Trump in Washington on March 5, has denied all the allegations and vowed to remain in office to serve out his term which runs until 2019.

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