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Israeli police recommend indicting PM for bribery

03 December, 2018, 02:45 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The case revolves around suspicions that confidants of Mr Netanyahu promoted regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bezeq telecom company in exchange for positive coverage of the prime minister on Bezeq's subsidiary news website Walla. Netanyahu, who just two weeks ago brought his coalition from the brink of collapse after a junior partner bolted, denied any wrongdoing.

Police say the investigation, which included the testimony of 60 witnesses, revealed that Netanyahu and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

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

Mr Netanyahu did not mention the allegations in his comments at the start of a cabinet meeting later in the day.

Netanyahu last month was almost forced to call elections after a key partner withdrew from his coalition to protest a cease-fire with the Hamas militant group in Gaza.

Avoid becoming a victim of Fake News.

This is the third such police recommendation against Netanyahu in recent months.

Israel must hold its next election by November 2019.

Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni
Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni

However, he may want to seek a renewed mandate from the people to force a prosecutor to think twice before indicting him.

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.

They are suspected of interfering in regulatory decisions that favoured Bezeq and its majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch. The authorities said there was also evidence to charge the company's then-CEO Stella Handler with fraud. Elovitch's attorney, Jacques Chen, told the Ynet website that his client denied wrongdoing. They were both arrested and detained briefly earlier this year and have resigned from Bezeq.

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

During the meeting, Hefetz allegedly asked to coordinate an agreed-upon version of events in case police were looking into the possibility - as the Case 4000 indictment alleges - that Netanyahu had granted vast regulatory benefits to Bezeq in exchange for overwhelmingly positive coverage in Walla.

"A prime minister with so many corruption cases around him can not continue at his job and must resign", Gabbay tweeted.

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

Netanyahu immediately rejected the accusations against him and his wife, claiming "these recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began".

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