Israel Police Recommend Indicting Benjamin Netanyahu In Corruption Probe

Israel Police Recommend Indicting Benjamin Netanyahu In Corruption Probe

Israeli police on Sunday recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara for bribery and other offences, the third such move against the premier in recent months.

In a joint statement with the Israel Securities Authority, police said they had also found sufficient evidence to charge Bezeq's controlling shareholder with bribery as well as other officials at the company.

They are suspected of awarding regulatory favours to the Bezeq telecom firm in return for positive media coverage of the couple.

"These recommendations were decided upon and leaked even before the investigation began".

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.

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

In response to the police statement, Netanyahu said, "The police recommendations against me and my wife do not surprise anyone".

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Netanyahu has been prime minister for a total of more than 12 years, from 1996 to 1999 and again since 2009. In exchange, Elovitch instructed journalists at the news website Walla! to provide favourable coverage of the prime minister and his wife. Information leaked to the Israeli media suggested the agreement would have allowed the Prime Minister to receive more favourable coverage from the newspaper if he agreed to weaken the status of rival daily newspaper Israel Hayom, owned by United States casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Reuven Hazan, a political scientist at Hebrew University, said Netanyahu will likely try to push forward elections before Mandelblit decides whether to indict.

He is also suspected of negotiating favorable press coverage with the Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in Case 2000. "There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony".

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

Tzipi Livni, the former Foreign Minister, said, "Netanyahu has to go before he takes down law enforcement authorities in order to save himself". "A person with such a sickly obsession with what the media says about him must not lead the State of Israel".

"The prime minister has no moral mandate to keep his seat and must resign today". Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until past year and oversaw regulation in the field.

"He'll send a message to the attorney general that everyone knew about these three police reports and they still voted for him and want him in power", Hazan said.

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