Adelson reveals in police testimony Netanyahu spoke to him about Mozes: report
Ethan Miller (Getty/AFP/Archives)
Following a recent testimony from American casino tycoon and staunch right-wing donor, Sheldon Adelson, in connection with the one of several ongoing corruption investigations into Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Channel 10 revealed the US billionaire told police financial matters regarding Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes were discussed between him and the Prime Minister.
Adelson’s knowledge regarding the subject of Case 2000, an alleged "quid pro quo" arrangement between Netanyahu and Mozes, could poke holes in Netanyahu’s case that claims he never planned to follow through with any arrangement.
Leaked audio recordings between the premier and Mozes reveal the two men reportedly discussing practical steps for lowering the influence of free pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom, owned by Adelson, which has cut into a significant share of its rival 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, a main argument in Netanyahu’s case.
Adelson has so far testified on several occasions into the long running investigation.
Israeli police stated Adelson's testimonies will be "very meaningful" to the corruption probe and emphasized that he is not suspected of any criminal wrongdoings. Adelson's wife Miriam Adelson has also been questioned as a part of the investigation, but is not a suspect. It is thought to be more significant as she has greater involvement in running Israel Hayom newspaper.
The wealthy couple is most notable for owning a string of successful casinos. They have long been steadfast supporters of the Netanyahus and frequently host them on visits to the United States. Adelson's newspaper, which is distributed for free, is considered to be closely aligned with the Prime Minister's office.
Channel 2 further quoted sources last month as saying a "rift" and "tensions" had developed between the two families after the recordings came to light and a shift in Israel Hayom's coverage has been noted in recent months.
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