Israeli media: Netanyahu and newspaper tried to trade favours

JERUSALEM: Israeli media reports are claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an offer to the publisher of a critical newspaper, proposing to use his power to curb its main rival in return for favourable coverage.

Wednesday's reports add details to a spiraling scandal in which Netanyahu had already been questioned twice by police over receiving alleged gifts from high-powered Hollywood and business figures.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and calls the allegations a hostile media's witch hunt against him and his family.

The daily Haaretz reports that Arnon Mozes, publisher of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, suggested he'd tone down the paper's criticism in return for Netanyahu limiting the distribution of its main competitor, the Israel Hayom daily financed by Jewish-American billionaire and Netanyahu backer Sheldon Adelson.

Mozes has not commented.