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Israeli police recommend Benjamin Netanyahu indictment on two corruption allegations

Israeli Prime Minister is accused of accepting gifts in exchange for arranging a US visa

    Benjamin Netanyahu attending a vote in the Knesset on Tuesday night after police said he should face corruption charges
    Benjamin Netanyahu attending a vote in the Knesset on Tuesday night after police said he should face corruption charges (Photo: Flash90)

    Israeli police have recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery and breach of trust.

    Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will now consider his case to decide whether the Prime Minister should face formal charges over the allegations.

    The police conclusion came after an investigation that has lasted 16 months and seen Mr Netanyahu and many of his closest associates interviewed under caution on multiple occasions.

    In defiant remarks on Tuesday evening, he insisted he was innocent and expressed confidence that the allegations would remain unproven.

    Related: The five corruption allegations against Benjamin Netanyahu

    Speaking on Israeli television this evening in the wake of the news, Mr Netanyahu appeared defiant, continuing to insist on his innocence.

    “15 investigations have been launched against me”, Mr Netanyahu said.

    “I am certain the truth will come to light. This time, too – it [the accusations] will end in nothing.

    The Israeli Prime Minister, whose second term in office began in 2009, also spoke of his intention to carry on in his current office, telling his audience “I will still win the next election, with God’s help.”Mr Netanyahu has been the subject of several different corruption investigations in recent months.

    “Case 1000” focuses on expensive gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels that the Israeli Prime Minister received from wealthy businessmen, allegedly in return for advancing their interests.

    “Case 2000” concerns the allegation that, in exchange for favourable coverage from the powerful tabloid Yedioth Ahronot, he sought to limit the circulation of its rival freesheet Yisrael Ha'Yom, a newspaper owned by his friend Sheldon Adelson.

    Police are also recommending that Arnon Milchan – the Israeli billionaire movie producer – be indicted as well as part of Case 1000 for providing Mr Netanyahu with expensive cigars and champagne, allegedly in return for the Israeli Prime Minister helping him obtain a US visa.

    Jeremy Sharon, religious affairs correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, said the indictment recommendation reveals that Mr Netanyahu attempted to pass a law which would have given Mr Milchan a significant tax break. However, Yair Lapid, Finance Minister at the time, refused to do so, and testified that Mr Netanyahu attempted to force him to pass it. 

    Mr Netanyahu has always denied guilt at either of the charges, once saying after being questioned by the police that “nothing will happen, because there is nothing".

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