is suspected of having dictated the content and coverage of the Walla news site, a Tel Aviv Magistrate Court judge said in the framework of Case 4000, KAN News reported on Thursday.
Also known as the Bezeq-Walla Affair, Case 4000 involves allegations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered preferential treatment for Bezeq in exchange for positive media coverage by Walla.
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Netanyahu is alleged to have ordered top aide Shlomo Filber – who he appointed as director-general of the Communications Ministry – to issue favorable rulings for Bezeq. That reportedly included getting anti-trust regulators to approve Bezeq’s merger with satellite TV unit Yes.
Bezeq’s news site Walla has been accused of exchanging that favor for giving positive coverage to Netanyahu and his wife, with the prime minister’s aide Nir Hefetz managing the . Hefetz agreed to become a state’s witness, testifying against his former boss.
Shaul Elovitch, the owner of Walla, its controlling shareholder and former Bezeq chairman, is said to have coordinated the coverage.
According to KAN, Judge Ala Masrawa said that the investigation revealed that Shaul Elowitz and his wife Iris knew that without the regulator’s approval, the deal between Bezeq and Yes would not be approved. Masrawa wrote this in his decision regarding a request by the couple to release their belongings which were seized at the beginning of the investigation.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report
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