Europe

Greece probes crash that killed Netanyahu corruption trial witness

Greek authorities have opened an investigation into the deadly crash of a private plane near the island of Samos.

The crash killed a prosecution witness in the corruption trial of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Haim Geron, a former senior official at Israel’s ministry of communications, and his wife Esther were the only occupants on board the Cessna 182 aircraft.

The single-engine plane had departed Haifa in Israel on Monday and later crashed near Samos airport.

Greece’s Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Board said they were investigating the causes of the crash.

“Shortly before landing, communication with the control tower on Samos was lost and the Civil Aviation Authority informed the search and rescue center about the loss of communication,” the authority said in a statement.

“A local fisherman said there was a big explosion, followed by a smaller one,” Ioannis Kondylis, head of the board, told AFP.

The bodies of the two Israeli occupants were recovered by the coastguard several hours later with the help of divers.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry identified the victims, both aged 69, adding that consular officials and the ministry were working with the family to return the bodies.

Geron was one of more than 300 witnesses that prosecutors listed for Netanyahu’s trial, where the former PM is accused of accepting expensive gifts from wealthy associates and granting favours to media tycoons in exchange for coverage.

Netanyahu, now the opposition leader in Israel’s parliament, has denied all the accusations and mocked the size of the prosecution’s witness list.

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