Witness in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial Killed in Plane Crash in Greece: Report
Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges in relation to three separate cases over his allegedly close relations with powerful businessmen and media moguls.
A witness in Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption case died in a plane crash near the island of Samos on Monday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed.
Haim Geron, who worked as a deputy director-general for engineering and licensing at Israel's Ministry of Communications, was one of 333 prosecution witnesses listed for Netanyahu’s trial, according to the Sky News.
The Foreign Ministry revealed that Haim Geron and his wife Esti took off from Israeli’s city of Haifa on a Cessna 172 plane on Monday afternoon.
The single-engine aircraft then crashed near the island of Samos after a loss of communication with the control tower “shortly before landing”, according to the Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Board.
A few hours later, the Greek coastguard recovered the bodies of Geron and his wife. Greece’s Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Board have launched an inquiry into the cause of the incident.
According to the Times of Israel’s report, the plane could have suffered technical difficulties but this has yet to be established by Greek authorities, who are working closely with the Israeli Foreign Ministry to bring the couple back to Israel.
Netanyahu is accused of receiving expensive gifts, including boxes of cigars and champagne, from his powerful friends, and granting regulatory favours to media moguls in return for positive coverage. He is facing bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges in relation to three separate cases known as 1000, 2000, and 4000.
The former prime minister, who lost his power to Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid's coalition in June, previously mocked the lengthy witness list submitted to Israel’s parliament in December 2019.
“When an accusation is true, you don’t need 333 witnesses,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter back then. “When the accusation is untrue, not even 333 witnesses will help.”
The former prime minister doesn’t admit any wrongdoing in relation to corruption charges.