Israeli PM Netanyahu's legal troubles mount as police seek new bribery charges

Israeli PM Netanyahu's legal troubles mount as police seek new bribery charges

Israeli PM Netanyahu's legal troubles mount as police seek new bribery charges

Israeli police have recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery charges related to a corruption case involving Israel's telecom giant.

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and Sara are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors while Case 2000 involves an alleged quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes.

"These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began", Netanyahu said in a statement after the third recommended indictment against him in recent months.

"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.

Despite his dominance of Israeli politics, the newest police recommendation comes just after his right-wing coalition's majority was reduced to a precarious one seat in parliament.

Mr Netanyahu rejected the allegations in what is known as Case 4000. In exchange, Bezeq's news subsidiary, Walla, gave the prime minister sympathetic treatment, police allege.

According to a police statement, authorities found evidence of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust.

Two senior advisers have turned state witnesses and have allegedly provided authorities with incriminating evidence.

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

Investigators say Netanyahu advanced regulatory benefits worth up to 1 billion shekels (approximately $280 million) to Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, and Netanyahu's friend.

Police said Sunday their investigation found that between 2012 and 2017, "the prime minister and his confidantes crudely and consistently, at times on a daily basis, intervened in the content published by the Walla news website".

The Israeli attorney-general will now have to decide whether to bring charges in the case.

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

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

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.

Mr Netanyahu, who has led Israel for four terms, has denied any wrongdoing.

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