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Ex-Netanyahu aide turns state's witness in graft probe

EX-NETANYAHU AIDE TURNS STATES WITNESS IN GRAFT PROBE

A former top aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will testify on behalf of state prosecutors in two graft cases in which the Israeli prime minister has been questioned as a suspect.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff has agreed to give evidence against him on suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, local media reported on Friday.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff Ari Harow has reached an agreement with the prosecution to turn state's witness in two corruption cases against Netanyahu," the Haaretz newspaper said on its website.

"Former chief of staff Ari Harow signed today a state's witness agreement," public radio said.

There was no official comment on the reports and any leaked details of the case are banned from publication by court order.

US-born Israeli immigrant Harow worked for Netanyahu from 2009-10 and 2014-15, when he stepped down over allegations of corruption.

He has been under investigation for more than two years on suspicion of bribery, breach of trust, conflict of interest and fraud, the media said.

Haaretz said Harow has already been giving investigators information on two of the ongoing investigations into Netanyahu.

One is based on suspicions that the premier unlawfully received gifts from wealthy supporters, including Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Also being probed is a suspicion that Netanyahu sought a secret deal with the publisher of top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot.

The proposed deal, which is not believed to have been finalised, would have seen Netanyahu receive positive coverage in return for him helping scale down the operations of Israel Hayom, Yediot's main competitor.

The investigations have stirred Israeli politics and led to speculation over whether Netanyahu will eventually be forced to step down.

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