Adelson tells police Netanyahu asked him to close Israel Hayom weekend sections
US billionaire and media mogul Sheldon Adelson told Israeli police last month in a testimony as part of an ongoing investigation against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that the Israeli premier requested that the weekend supplement of Adelson’s newspaper Israel Hayom be shut down, Channel 2 reported on Saturday.
Adelson has so far testified on several occasions during the long running investigation.
He was most recently asked to testify to the extent of his knowledge of an alleged “quid pro quo” arrangement between Netanyahu and competing newspaper publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes, which would have provided benefit to Mozes' Yedioth Ahronoth in exchange for more favorable coverage for Netanyahu, who often complains of unfair media treatment.
In return for Mozes' favor, Netanyahu would see to limiting the circulation of the free Adelson-owned paper that is often noted to be pro-Netanyahu and has cut into a significant share of Yedioth’s circulation and revenues.
The dealings were revealed in a set of leaked audio recordings from 2014.
Last month, Israel’s Channel 10 revealed from Adelson’s testimony 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 could poke holes in Netanyahu’s case that claims he never planned to follow through with any arrangement.
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.
Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Ari Harow was most recently incriminated in the case in another bombshell revelation and signed an agreement to serve as a state witness.
Channel 2 also reported on Saturday that in recent weeks Harow completed a testimony to Israeli police, revealing potentially incriminating information against his former boss.
In regards to the audiotapes between Netanyahu and Mozes, Harow told police he was asked by Netanyahu to “advance matters” that came up as a result of the conversations, according to Channel 2.
Recordings of the 2014 discussion were uncovered by police on Harow's computer during the course of their investigation into the former Netanyahu aide.
Harow, who resigned from his post in the Prime Minister's Office in January 2015 in order to work on Netanyahu's election campaign, has been under police investigation since December 2015 on suspicion of fraud and breach of trust.
Police have recommended he be indicted on those offenses, but the Attorney General has yet to file formal charges.
In exchange for the testimony, Harow will avoid serving prison time and instead be sentenced to half a year of community service and likely pay a fine of NIS 700,000 (around $193,323), Hebrew media outlets reported Friday.
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