Police question PM in corruption probe

Police question PM Netanyahu on several investigations at PM's residence.


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's

Israeli police grilled Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at his official Jerusalem home on Monday in a long-running investigation into corruption suspicions

"The fourth round of questioning of PM Netanyahu has begun at his residence," the Yisrael Hayom Hebrew daily considered close to the premier, reported on its website.

Public radio said that national fraud squad detectives arrived at the city center house shortly before 5:00 pm.

It said they were expected to interrogate him over suspicions of unlawfully receiving gifts from wealthy supporters, including Australian billionaire James Packer. They would be looking for his response to testimony given by Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, a friend of both Netanyahu and Packer.

Milchan also figures in allegations of improper gifts accepted by the primeminister and his wife Sara, allegedly including expensive cigars and champagne.

Left-leaning daily Haaretz cited a police source as saying Netanyahu would also be asked to respond to testimony given by his wife that conflicts with his version of events.

Haaretz added that there would also be fresh questions about an alleged bid to strike a deal with an Israeli press baron.

Police refused to confirm or deny to AFP that the interview was taking place or to make any comment on the inquiry so far.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Authorities reportedly suspect that over several years Milchan sent Netanyahu boxes of premium cigars and also gave Sara pink champagne priced at about $100 a bottle.

Also being probed is a suspicion that the premier sought a secret deal with Amnon Moses, publisher of Israel's top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

The discussed deal, which is not believed to have been finalized, would have seen Netanyahu receive positive coverage in return for him helping scale down the operations of Yisrael Hayom, Yediot's competitor.