From the section
Media playback is not supported on this device Netanyahu appears in court for questioning
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in court on Thursday as a long-time friend prepared to testify against him.
David Shimron was expected to testify against his friend of 35 years, over alleged corruption in Netanyahu’s relationship with telecoms tycoon Yedioth Ahronoth.
Shimron was summoned by the Israel Police as a witness to last month’s corruption probe, regarding gifts he was alleged to have given to Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their children.
Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.
David Shimron is a nephew of Netanyahu’s father.
Those gifts included jewellery, toiletries and expensive cigars.
Shimron told police he was given gifts amounting to over $100,000 (£75,000).
Israeli television said Netanyahu was questioned for up to four hours, while he declined to provide an interview to the Israeli television channel.
Netanyahu’s office said the “allegations, which pertain to a private matter”, did not involve public service.
“There is no official complaint related to any violation of law by the prime minister. Such accusations are made simply to harm the prime minister politically,” a statement from his office said.
Police say Netanyahu and his wife offered Shimron to use his influence with the paper’s editors in exchange for extra support for his son who held a senior position with the newspaper.
At the time, the paper was in the grip of a long-running dispute with its owners.
Shimron allegedly promised that Netanyahu’s daughter, Rachel, would represent the newspaper in television and print advertising and would ensure its dominance.
Rachel Netanyahu – who lives with the prime minister – has denied any relationship with her father and said she declined to address the media about the matter.
Prosecutors want Shimron to testify against Mrs Netanyahu for allegedly acting as an intermediary between Shimron and Yedioth Ahronoth editors.
They also want her to testify against Mr Netanyahu, saying the businessman reported back to him about the talks.
Netanyahu has strongly denied the accusations.
Israel’s attorney general will make a decision as to whether to bring charges by Friday, 3 August.
If Shimron is called as a witness against Netanyahu, he is expected to be granted a reduced security detail and may be allowed to return to his home after media coverage of his testimony.