PM Netanyahu's 'last interrogation' on gifts case

Police interrogate PM Netanyahu for the seventh time, say it will likely be the last interrogation before the case is closed.


Netanyahu attending the launch of a new innovation center at the Peres Center for Peace
Netanyahu attending the launch of a new innovation center at the Peres Center for Peace
Yair Sagi/Flash 90

Fraud squad detectives questioned Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem residence on Friday, the seventh time in a nearly year-long corruption probe, reports said.

Public radio and two privately-owned TV channels said that investigators arrived at the house early Friday morning.

Police policy is not to comment until the day's questioning has been completed.

The radio said an investigation into suspicions Netanyahu received cigars and champagne from wealthy supporters, including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian tycoon James Packer, was nearing completion.

Netanyahu does not smoke.

"This is likely to be his last interrogation," on the gifts case," it said. "After that the police intend to wrap up the case within a short time."

The Maariv newspaper reported that detectives believed they had sufficient evidence to pass the file to the state prosecutor.

"The police are still deliberating whether to attribute to Netanyahu the offence of bribe-taking or receiving benefits," Maariv said.

The prime minister was first questioned on January 2.

Investigations are expected to continue in a second case in which police suspect that Netanyahu sought more favorable coverage with the publisher of the popular Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

The alleged scheme, not believed to have been finalized, would have seen Netanyahu receive favorable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the more popular Israel Hayom.

Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and says he has been the target of a smear campaign by political opponents.