Israel police recommend indicting Netanyahu in third graft probe

Monday, 03 Dec, 2018

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 news website, Walla. "I am sure that in this case, too, the relevant authorities, after examining things, will arrive at the same conclusion - there was nothing because there is nothing", he said. These recommendations were decided and leaked before the investigation had even begun.

Israeli media say the 69-year-old prime minister has been questioned by investigators a number of times.

Police are also recommending that charges be brought against Netanyahu's wife, Sara, who has been at the centre of much of the corruption allegations surrounding the longtime Israeli leader.

In a statement, police said the investigation concluded that Netanyahu and Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

In the two other cases where the police have recommended indictments, Netanyahu is also suspected of receiving bribes in exchange for favours.

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.

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

"Police recommendations have no legal status", he said in a statement.

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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.

Israel must hold its next election by November 2019. "If there is an election first and Netanyahu wins with everyone knowing about his legal issues, then he can say that despite knowledge of the legal battles, the people still want him".

They recommended Sara Netanyahu face charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of evidence.

The decision to indict the Prime Minister can only be made by the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, who will now review the findings of the police investigation.

Two key figures have turned state's witnesses in the case, including former media adviser to the Netanyahu family Nir Hefetz.

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

The other is Mr Shlomo Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and former director general of the communications ministry.