Israeli police recommend PM Netanyahu be charged with bribery

Minnie Murray
December 2, 2018

The Israeli attorney-general will now have to decide whether to bring charges in the case.

Investigators said Netanyahu should stand trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust and fraudulently accepting benefits.

If true, this would constitute bribery, as Netanyahu worked to set government policies that would increase monetary profits in exchange for positive media coverage. Mr Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

Despite his dominance of Israeli politics, the newest police recommendation comes just after his right-wing coalition's majority was reduced to a precarious one seat in Parliament. "These recommendations were decided upon and leaked even before the investigation began".

The decision on whether to charge Mr Netanyahu rests with Israel's attorney-general, who is still weighing whether to indict Mr Netanyahu in the other two cases. In exchange, Netanyahu and his wife struck a deal with Elovitch, giving the Israeli prime minister favorable coverage on the Walla news site.

Bezeq telecom company's controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch, seen here in a Tel Aviv courtroom on February 22, 2018, is suspected of involvement in a scandal in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly advanced regulatory decisions as communications minister that benefited Bezeq, in exchange for positive coverage on the company's Walla news site.

A spokesman for Mr Netanyahu said there was no legal basis for the police recommendations and that ultimately nothing would come of the investigation.

They are also recommending charges be brought against Mr Elovitch and members of his family.

Netanyahu is suspected of having received luxury gifts from businessmen overseas in Case 1000.

The second case, called Case 2000, involves conversations Netanyahu had with Arnon Mozes, the owner of one of Israel's leading newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, which is regularly critical of the Prime Minister.

Both Netanyahu and his wife have been hounded by corruption allegations.

Mr Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until previous year and oversaw regulation in the field.

"A prime minister with so many criminal cases around him can not continue in his job and must resign", said Avi Gabbay, the head of the Labor party.

Other opposition parties quickly joined in the call for Mr Netanyahu to resign.

The prime minister has been repeatedly questioned by police in the three corruption investigations.

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