Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu On Bribery Charges

Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu On Bribery Charges

Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu On Bribery Charges

Israeli police have recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for alleged fraud and bribery.

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

"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.

The case involved suspicions that Netanyahu, in his role as communications minister from 2014 to 2017, while he was also the premier, made controversial decisions that benefited Shaul Elovitch, who controlled Israel's largest telecommunications company, Bezeq.

There are two other cases of corruption against him.

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.

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.

Netanyahu's colleagues in the ruling Likud party have lined up behind up, attacking outgoing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh for releasing the recommendation on his last day on the job.

Most of Netanyahu's coalition partners have said they will wait for a decision by the attorney-general before making any decisions about how to react to the allegations. In exchange, they believe Netanyahu used his connections with Elovitch to receive positive press coverage on Bezeq's popular news site Walla.

Israelis have been holding protests to demand the prime minister's resignation over the corruption scandals, but Netanyahu has described the events as part of efforts meant to topple him "at any cost".

Following the latest statement from police on Sunday, opposition politicians once again called on Netanyahu to resign.

They also recommended charges be brought against Elovitch, members of his family and members of his Bezeq management team. 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. Hefetz was the third confidant of the prime minister to become a witness in various cases, joining former communications ministry director general Shlomo Filber and former chief of staff Ari Harow.

Sara Netanyahu is also a suspect in a different corruption case. "There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony".

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