TEL AVIV-A confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has turned state witness for the Israeli police and will testify in a corruption probe, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday, the latest twist in a series of cases that threaten to bring down Israel's leader.
Filber, the former director of the Communications Ministry under Netanyahu, is under arrest on suspicion of promoting regulation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel'sBezeq telecom company.
If the reports about Mr Filber are confirmed, this would be the first time one of Mr Netanyahu's inner circle has agreed to testify against him.
Shlomo Filber, who was arrested this week along with top executives at Bezeq Telecom, had been personally appointed to head the Communications Ministry by Netanyahu.
The prime minister, who held the communications portfolio until previous year, has not yet been named as a suspect in either of this week's cases, though he may soon be questioned. Bezeq, its owners and executives deny wrongdoing.
Netanyahu dismissed the investigations as "delusional, fabricated claims" that are part of an "orchestrated campaign" against him and vowed to "continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly, discreetly and with great dedication". Netanyahu himself appeared ashen in a video released late Tuesday calling the claims "total madness".
"The Netanyahu government's days are numbered, and we already need to prepare for the upcoming election in order not to be caught unprepared, because we are dealing with our internal election", Gilon said.
His Likud party holds 30 seats in the 120-seat parliament, but that could rise to 34 if an election were called today, the poll found, without publishing how the poll was made.
Hefetz was among seven people arrested on Sunday, just days after police said there were grounds to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of public trust, in the biggest challenge yet to the right-wing premier's long tenure in power.
Police recommended last week that Netanyahu be indicted for receiving bribes from Australian billionaire, James Packer and Hollywood honcho Arnon Milchan.
Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes in which the right-wing leader offered to limit the circulation of Israel Hayom, a free, pro-Netanyahu daily owned and published by US billionaire and Republican party donor Sheldon Adelson, if Mozes gave the prime minister more favorable coverage. In return, police say Netanyahu operated on Milchan's behalf on U.S. visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.
Netanyahu is also accused of asking the publisher of Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, for favorable coverage in exchange for weakening the paper's main rival.
Avichai Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointment as attorney general, will make the final decision on whether to file charges, a process that is expected to take several months.
Mr. Hefetz is now suspected of approaching Israel's then commissioner for prosecutorial oversight, Judge Hila Gerstel, with an offer for the attorney general position if she would drop an ongoing corruption case against Ms. Netanyahu.
So far, partners in his governing coalition have stood by Netanyahu, saying they were awaiting the attorney-general's next moves.
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