Israel's Netanyahu should be indicted for corruption, police say

Arturo Kim
December 3, 2018

Israeli police on Sunday (Dec 2) said their investigation had found sufficient evidence for bribery and fraud charges to be brought against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife in a third corruption case against the Israeli leader.

Authorities allege Netanyahu awarded regulatory favors to Israel's leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel (BEZQ.TA), in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on a news website, Walla, owned by the company.

When police initially said he should be charged, Netanyahu said it was an attempt by his opponents to unseat him through corruption allegations because they couldn't win at the ballot box. "I am sure that in this case, too, the relevant authorities, after examining things, will arrive at the same conclusion - there was nothing because there is nothing", he said.

In coming months, the PM could find himself in the throes of early national elections after the departure last month of a key coalition partner left his Government teetering on the edge.

Netanyahu has been prime minister for a total of more than 12 years, from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009.

Police said they have established an evidentiary foundation to charge the pair with accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust.

Police said Sunday their investigation found that between 2012 and 2017, "the prime minister and his confidantes crudely and consistently, at times on a daily basis, intervened in the content published by the Walla news website".

Заказывал словечко и неплохо себя чувствовал израильская полиция выдвинула подозрения Нетаньяху
Police recommend Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery

In the two other cases where the police have recommended indictments, Netanyahu is also suspected of receiving bribes in exchange for favours.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a media witch hunt. "A person with such a sickly obsession with what the media says about him must not lead the State of Israel".

Mr Netanyahu is accused of seeking favourable coverage from another Elovitch company, the Walla news site, in exchange for policies that could have benefited the mogul's business interests.

Other opposition parties quickly joined in the call for Mr Netanyahu to resign. Mr Netanyahu is in his second stint as prime minister. Other former employees have accused her of mistreatment, charges the Netanyahus have vehemently denied, and of excessive spending and charging the state for her private, expensive tastes.

The decision to indict the Prime Minister can only be made by the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, who will now review the findings of the police investigation.

Despite the ongoing criminal investigations, which began a year and a half ago, Netanyahu has held on to the support of his Likud party and his coalition.

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