Netanyahu grilled for sixth time in graft probe: Police

Netanyahu grilled for sixth time in graft probe: Police
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned for a sixth time on Sunday (Nov 19) over two suspected cases of corruption, police said.

Netanyahu is suspected of having received luxury gifts from wealthy supporters, including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Milchan, a long-time friend of Netanyahu, reportedly sent him boxes of expensive cigars and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars. The producer was himself questioned in September.

Channel Two television said that detectives arrived at the premier’s official Jerusalem residence shortly after 4pm (10pm Singapore time) Sunday.

At 9pm, a police statement confirmed that he had been questioned “for a number of hours” by officers of the national fraud and serious crimes squad.

It was their second visit in 10 days, after Netanyahu was questioned for about four hours on Nov 9.

He was first quizzed on Jan 2.

In addition to suspicions that the gifts constituted bribery, the police also suspect that he sought a secret pact for favourable coverage with the publisher of the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

The alleged deal, not believed to have been finalised, would have seen Netanyahu receive favourable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot’s competitor, the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Israel Hayom.

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

Earlier this month, Netanyahu confidants Yitzhak Molcho and David Shimron, partners in a law firm and both relatives of the premier, were questioned by police as part of a probe into suspected corruption around the purchase of German submarines.

Netanyahu himself has not been named as a suspect in the submarine case.afp

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