Casino magnate billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who owns the Israeli daily freebee Israel Hayom, on Wednesday arrived at the offices of Israel Police major crimes unit Lahav 433, to give testimony regarding the investigation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a.k.a. “File 2,000.”
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who is also expected to testify soon, arrived in Israel on Monday, at the same time as US President Donald Trump, to celebrate Jerusalem Day.
Police will examine their ties with Netanyahu and the negotiations Netanyahu allegedly conducted with daily Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon (Noni) Moses.
Police sources involved in the details of the investigation told Walla they believe that Adelson’s testimony would be significant to the progress of the Netanyahu investigation. His wife’s testimony is expected to be particularly “vital” to the investigation, since she is more involved with Israel Hayom than her husband is.
Police made it clear that neither of the two witnesses is a suspect.
The File 2,000 investigation deals with suspicions that Netanyahu promoted in his meetings with Moses legislation that would harm Israel Hayom in exchange for positive coverage for the prime minister in Yedioth Ahronoth, on the eve of the March 2015 elections.
Transcripts of the talks, exposed by Channel 2 News, showed Moses’ eagerness to move ahead with a bill to curtail the rival daily’s circulation. Netanyahu allegedly agreed, telling Moses, “You can legislate this,” but noted that he “wants to talk to the ‘ginger’ (Adelson) first.”
Since Israel Hayom was established by Adelson—essentially to promote Netanyahu’s political career—the casino magnate’s protégé has distanced himself from the publication, since a relationship with it would have violated party funding laws. However, the moment Netanyahu was recorded negotiating with Moses, it became tough for the PM to claim the distance was real.