Israeli prosecutors ‘summon former Bezeq leaders’ to court

Israeli prosecutors ‘summon former Bezeq leaders’ to court hearing

03 September 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Prosecutors in Israel say they are ready to summon the former owner and the former CEO of Bezeq to a pre-indictment hearing, alleging fraud, obstruction of justice and violations of securities law.

Shaul Elovitch, the former majority shareholder in the company, and former CEO Stella Handler are two of the most prominent names in the state prosecutor’s list.

Others, according to reports from Israel, are Or Elovitch, the son of Shaul Elovitch; Ron Eilon, former CEO of Bezeq’s satellite TV subsidiary Yes; and Mickey Naiman, former CFO of Yes.

Handler was replaced by an acting CEO when the allegations surfaced last year. 

Bezeq said in a statement yesterday that “the company does not have full information concerning the investigations, their content, the material and evidence held by the legal authorities in the matter” and said it “is unable to assess the impact of the investigations, their findings and results on the company and its financial statements”.

The Times of Israel linked the case with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who, it said, “is suspected of an illicit quid pro quo with Elovitch … that continued for about four years, until early 2017”.

The newspaper says that Elovitch ensured favourable coverage of Netanyahu at a news site he owned “and critical coverage of Netanyahu’s rivals, especially in the 2013 and 2015 election periods”.

In exchange, say the prosecutors, Netanyahu intervened in regulatory decisions affecting Bezeq, including the merger with Yes, that benefited Elovitch by $500 million.

Netanyahu is also facing a pre-indictment hearing in early October. Police questioned him for four hours last year