July 13, 2017 / 4:44 PM / 8 days ago

Israel communications ministry chief placed under house arrest

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JERUSALEM, July 13 (Reuters) - The director-general of Israel's Communications Ministry was placed under house arrest on Thursday in connection with a securities probe into the country's biggest telecoms group, Bezeq Israel Telecom , court documents showed.

Shlomo Filber, whose ministry oversees Israel's telecoms sector, had been questioned by the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) since Wednesday on suspicion of committing securities violations, according to an ISA spokeswoman.

Court documents showed Filber was placed under house arrest for two weeks and was barred from dealing with the Communications Ministry.

A Communications Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the matter and a Bezeq spokesman was unavailable.

Bezeq's chairman and controlling shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, who was detained last month and released on bail, was put under house arrest too, the documents said. Bezeq's CEO, Stella Handler, has been placed under house arrest until July 21.

Elovitch has denied any wrongdoing.

The case has focused primarily on alleged improprieties surrounding Bezeq's 2015 acquisition of the remaining stake in its satellite TV unit YES from parent company Eurocom. Many details are being kept from the public under a court gag order at the request of the ISA. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen and Mark Potter)

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