Adelson to give testimony on alleged media deal in Netanyahu corruption case
US billionaire Sheldon Adelson is expected give testimony to Israeli police next week regarding alleged underhanded dealings between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli media mogul Arnon "Noni" Mozes, as part of a corruption probe brought against the premier, according to Hebrew media.
Adelson and his wife will be questioned by Israeli police during their upcoming trip to Israel next week.
Adelson is expected to testify as to the extent of his knowledge of an alleged 'quid pro quo' arrangement between Netanyahu and Mozes, which would have provided benefit to Mozes' Yedioth Ahronot newspaper in exchange for more favorable coverage for the premier, while in return limiting the circulation of the paper's Adelson-owned rival, Israel Hayom.
In leaked audio recordings between Netanyahu and Yedioth publisher Mozes, the two men reportedly discuss practical steps for lowering the influence of Adelson’s free pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom, which has cut into a significant share of Yedioth’s circulation and revenues.
In an excerpt of the 2014 recordings, Mozes says that he and Netanyahu need to “think about the details of the law” to curb the circulation of Israel Hayom.
Mozes adds that a large amount of advertising published in Israel Hayom is government-sponsored. “30, 50, 70 percent of the advertising pages” are government ads, he complains, adding that he’d like “a formula” for such pages.
Netanyahu asks: “What? Can you limit the number of advertising pages?”
“The state is giving them money. That’s not right,” Mozes replies. “But I’m mentioning this in passing. We can’t deal with everything all at once.”
When the tapes were leaked earlier this year, Hebrew media stressed that the nature of the conversations shows that these were serious and “practical” negotiations, negating claims by sources close to Netanyahu saying that he made the recordings out of fear that Mozes could try to extort him.
The recordings however, do not present any evidence that an actual deal was reached between the two men.
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