Netanyahu appears at his corruption trial as key witness testifies

Jerusalem, Mar 23 (EFE).- The corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday resumed as Shlomo Filber, a longtime close associate of the former Israeli prime minister, testified as a key witness.

The former premier, accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases, appeared for the first time since November before the Jerusalem district court, where the judicial process started a couple of years ago.

In this trial, known as case 4,000, Netanyahu is accused of giving preferential treatment to the Israeli telephone giant Bezeq in exchange for favorable coverage of him and his family in the popular digital news outlet Walla.

Both the communication firm and the media outlet are controlled by the same businessman, Shaul Elovitch.

Filber, now a state witness, on Wednesday said that when he was director general of communications, Netanyahu ordered him to take action on matters that helped and benefited Elovitch.

Among other things, he claimed that Netanyahu asked him to intervene in the regulation of prices to mitigate certain damages to Bezeq, or to advance in the merger of the company with the Yes satellite television network.

Netanyahu faces another two trials including case 1,000, for allegedly accepting one million shekels (some $300,000) in gifts from millionaires in exchange for favors.

The second one, known as case 2,000, looks into alleged attempts to make deals with the editor of Yediot Aharonot, to get more positive coverage of him in exchange for damaging the distribution of the rival daily, the free and pro-government Israel Hayom.

Netanyahu has denied all the charges, which he considered a conspiracy against him by police inspectors, the judicial system and left-wing media. EFE


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