Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu 'should be charged' in third corruption case

Geneva Stokes
December 2, 2018

The Israeli police have said their investigation has found sufficient evidence for bribery and fraud charges to be brought against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, in a third corruption case against the leader. "These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began", he said.

"I am sure that also in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the matter, will reach the same conclusion - that there was nothing because there is nothing", he said.

"Netanyahu and those close to him bluntly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, with the content being published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and Iris Elovitch", the police statement read.

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations as a witch hunt orchestrated by the media.

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

In return, Bezeq's subsidiary news site, Walla, allegedly provided positive Netanyahu coverage.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged with bribery and fraud, police have said.

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Two of his top confidants have turned state witnesses and are believed to have provided police with incriminating evidence.

Those relate to allegations that Netanyahu accepted gifts from businessmen and that he tried to strike a deal with a different media mogul for better coverage in return for curbs on a competing newspaper.

Police say there is enough evidence to charge Elovitch with bribery, interfering with an investigation, and financial crimes.

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.

The three cases involving the long-serving premier have led to speculation over whether he will eventually have to step down. Mr Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

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.

The head of the opposition Labour party, Mr Avi Gabbay, renewed his call for Mr Netanyahu to resign after the latest recommendations were released.

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