Israel Police Recommend Indicting Benjamin Netanyahu In Corruption Probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli police are recommending prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted in a corruption case involving Israel's telecom giant, which he has denied.

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 the findings announced Sunday, police said there was evidence to charge Mr Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, breach of trust and unlawful acceptance.

Earlier this year, investigators also recommended that Netanyahu be tried for allegedly taking almost $300,000 worth of gifts including expensive cigars and champagne from wealthy friends including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.

"I'm sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing", he said in a statement.

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.

The recommendation of an indictment against the prime minister for the third time this year prompted calls for his resignation.

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

The couple on a visit to the White House in March
Image The PM and his wife Sara on a visit to the White House in March

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

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".

They are suspected of interfering in regulatory decisions that favoured Bezeq and its majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch.

Mr Netanyahu immediately rejected the accusations, but the three cases against him have led to speculation that they could eventually force the long-serving prime minister to step down. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing. In exchange, Elovitch instructed journalists at the news website Walla! to provide favourable coverage of the prime minister and his wife.

Some analysts have said Netanyahu could call a snap vote in light of the legal proceedings against him.

It's up to the attorney general whether to indict. The people of Israel deserve a clean leadership.

Prosecutors say Sara Netanyahu used state money to pay for $100,000 worth of meals at the prime minister's residence.

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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