Senior police officers and officials at the state prosecutor’s office were accused Monday of staging a massive cover-up involving a serious conflict of interest by a lead investigator in one of the three corruption cases facing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Israel’s Channel 12 news reports.
The Israeli leader called the disclosures an “atom bomb” that proves he was framed.
According to Channel 12 reporter Amit Segal, top law enforcement officials recently filed a complaint with the state comptroller alleging Police Superintendent Avi Rotenberg of the Major Crimes Unit, the chief investigator in the case alleging Sara Netanyahu misused public funds, failed to disclose — and later denied — that he was conducting an affair with Judy Nir-Mozes.
Nir-Mozes, a long-time rival of Sara Netanyahu, is a shareholder in Israeli daily paper Yedioth Ahronoth, as well as the sister of its publisher, Arnon “Noni” Mozes. Mozes is the sister of Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes.
In Case 2000, Netanyahu is charged with striking a deal with media mogul Arnon (Noni) Mozes whereby the premier would weaken the Sheldon Adelson-backed daily Israel Hayom in return for more favorable coverage in Mozes’ own publication.
Rotenberg’s denial of his romantic involvement with Nir-Mozes meant he was privy to all the details regarding Case 2000.
The matter only came to light after Rotenberg’s wife threatened to reveal her husband’s affair to the press.
Netanyahu said the “shocking” report “drops an atom bomb” that proves joint efforts by state prosecutors and Israel Police to conspire against him.
“Shocking! Amit Segal just dropped an atom bomb proving – with correspondence between senior police and State Attorney Office official – this is how the prime minister was framed, by criminal acts and obstruction of justice,” he tweeted.
Likud MK and Netanyahu ally Miki Zohar on Tuesday asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to drop the charges in Case 2000 in light of the new information, saying that “all the people who were involved in the Netanyahu investigations and the decision to open them are shown here to have engaged in serious improper conduct.”
“Our claim that Case 2000 is utterly baseless was confirmed last night after the corrupt conflict of interest in the investigation was exposed,” Zohar posted on Twitter.
The Justice Ministry issued a statement describing the allegations as “horrifying” and calling for an investigation.
The State Prosecutor’s Office said it a was “biased, distorted report that takes things out of context” full of “baseless lies.”
“Efforts to connect these decisions to the cases against the prime minister are ludicrous and conspiratorial,” a statement from the State Prosecutor’s office said.