Ambassador Dermer Questioned in Case 1000

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Israeli police investigations into governmental corruption widened significantly on Tuesday as ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer was reportedly called in for questioning in connection with allegations that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received bribes from Israeli-born businessman Arnon Milchan.

Dermer, a Netanyahu confidante, confirmed to police that, on the direction of the prime minister, he asked then-secretary of state John Kerry to help arrange a visa for Milchan, according to Channel 2 news.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is delaying former ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro from giving testimony about the visa request, Channel 2 said.

PM Netanyahu is said to have asked Shapiro in 2014 to intervene on Milchan’s behalf for a long-term U.S. visa.

PM Netanyahu and Milchan are being investigated in the police “Case 1000,” focusing on suspicions Milchan sent PM Netanyahu and his wife Sara luxurious gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels. They both deny that the gifts involved any exchange of favors, but claim they were merely gestures of friendship.