Israeli Bezeq's owner to remain in custody until Monday

Shaul Elovitch sits in the Magistrate Court during his remand hearing in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The controlling shareholder of Bezeq Israel Telecom, Israel's largest telecoms group, has been ordered to remain in police custody until Monday as part of an investigation into the firm.

Shaul Elovitch, a family friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who controls Bezeq through his Eurocom holding group, was arrested on Sunday along with his wife and son. They were initially remanded in custody until Thursday but police asked the court to extend their detention.

Elovitch, his wife and son deny any wrongdoing.

Bezeq CEO Stella Handler and another company official have also been arrested in connection with Israel Securities Authority's (ISA) investigation of Bezeq over possible fraud and financial reporting offences. They have also been remanded in police custody until Monday.

Israeli media reported that investigators were looking into allegations that Bezeq had received benefits in return for its owners offering favorable media coverage of Netanyahu on media they controlled.

Shlomo Filber, a confidant of Netanyahu and former director general of the Communications Ministry, and former Netanyahu spokesman Nir Hefetz were also arrested.

Filber has since agreed to turn state's witness in the investigation, according to Israeli media.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Kevin Liffey)