Israel Police Recommend Indicting Benjamin Netanyahu In Corruption Probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a ceremony awarding people who contributed in the fight against human trafficking in Jerusalem

Israeli police have recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery charges related to a corruption case involving Israel's telecom giant.

Authorities on Sunday alleged Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to Bezeq, Israel's largest telecommunications group, in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on Bezeq's subsidiary news website, Walla. In exchange, prosecutors say Elovitch gave Netanyahu favorable news coverage in online news site Walla!

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Netanyahu has been accused.

Israel's attorney general will decide whether to go forward with charges.

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.

Police say their investigation has established an evidentiary foundation to charge Netanyahu and his wife Sara with accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust.

Responding to the most recent charges, Netanyahu questioned the timing and veracity of the announcement, accusing police of leaking parts of the investigation even before any conclusions were reached.

In response to the police statement, Netanyahu said, "The police recommendations against me and my wife do not surprise anyone".




Netanyahu accused investigators and the Israeli news outlets for specifically singling him out. Now he appears to be facing the challenge of both - legal charges and an election.

"He'll send a message to the attorney general that everyone knew about these three police reports and they still voted for him and want him in power", Hazan said.

It's the third such recommendation to hit the prime minister this year.

The prime minister insists that he and his wife have done nothing wrong or illegal and that he intends to remain in office.

Hefetz reportedly told the police he would at times speak with Elovitch up to seven times a day in his capacity as Netanyahu's adviser.

Other opposition parties quickly joined in the call for Mr Netanyahu to resign. The White House is trying to build a coalition of Middle Eastern leaders to deter Iran, to that end encouraging the warming of relations between Israel and Arab states that outwardly shun it and sidelining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Police are also recommending charges be brought against Elovitch and members of his family. The first case, referred to as Case 1000, involves gifts of cigars and jewellery bestowed by billionaire benefactors such as Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, whose film credits include Fight Club and Pretty Woman, and Australian businessman James Packer. Indictments were recommended, however, against some of the Prime Minister's close associates, including his cousin and lawyer David Shimron.

Netanyahu has also said he's innocent in those cases. "There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony". An initial hearing has already been held in this case.

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