The long-time aide of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to give testimony as a key witness in a corruption investigation launched against Netanyahu, local media in Israel reported on Wednesday.
Netanyahu has dismissed the investigation as a concerted campaign to see him dislodged from power. He has been defiant, however, saying he has faced similar allegations in the past and has been cleared of any wrong-doing on 14 separate occasions.
The key witness in question, Shlomo Filber, is a long-time Netanyahu confidant and a member of the governing Likud Party. He was arrested on February 18 as part of a separate corruption investigation. Filber is accused of exchanging favourable media coverage for preferential media treatment from telecom company Bezeq.
Netanyahu faces similar allegations in relation to the press.
The scope of the investigation against the Netanyahu family is widening. Israeli media are now reporting that a Netanyahu aide, Nir Hefetz, attempted to promote a judge to the position of Attorney General so as to disrupt an ongoing investigation against Netanyahu’s wife.
Netanyahu is one year shy of being Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, having first served from 1996-1999 and currently, since 2009.