05 March 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Israeli operator Bezeq has appointed an acting CEO while the current CEO, Stella Handler, is under police investigation for involvement in alleged corruption.
The acting CEO is Yakov – or Kobi – Paz,
who is head of Bezeq’s business division. From
2002 to 2006 he was CEO of Alcatel Israel and before that held
a number of senior positions at Nortel. Paz will remain head of
Bezeq’s business division, the company said.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Handler was arrested in
connection with a wide-ranging investigation at Bezeq into
allegations including fraud, bribery and securities offences. A
court has ordered that she stay away from Bezeq for 30
Police are also investigating the role of Shaul Elovitch, the
controlling shareholder in the company – and its
former chairman. He has been arrested and remains in
The enquiry has reached Israeli prime minister, Benjamin
Netanyahu, who was questioned by police for five hours on
Friday. According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu then posted
a video on his Facebook page saying: "I feel confident more
than ever – there will be nothing [to the police
Police also arrested Shlomo Filber, former director general of
the Communications Ministry. According to Israeli media he has
agreed to turn state’s witness.
According to today’s reports, a proposal from
businessman Naty Saidoff to buy the parent company of Bezeq has
suffered a "material deterioration". The Globes newspaper is
reporting that "the Saidoff group still does not intend to
withdraw from the deal, but it is signalling that it expects
the banks to act". A board meeting is due on Thursday.