Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Israeli police recommend indicting Netanyahu in telecom case

Israeli police recommend indicting Netanyahu in telecom case

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.

Between 2012 and 2017, the police said, Mr. Netanyahu "intervened in a blatant and ongoing manner, and sometimes even daily", in coverage at Walla, a news website owned by [telecommunications company] Bezeq, ensuring "flattering articles and pictures" were published and "removing critical content" about him and his family.

The Israeli police have already recommended charging Netanyahu for bribery and breach of trust in Case 1000 and Case 2000.

Mr Netanyahu said the allegations had no legal basis and nothing would come of the investigation.

"I'm sure that in this case the relevant authorities, after examining the issue, will reach the same conclusion: that there was nothing because there is nothing".

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.

Israelis have been holding protests to demand the prime minister's resignation over the corruption scandals, but Netanyahu has described the events as part of efforts meant to topple him "at any cost".

Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni
Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni

Investigators said Netanyahu should stand trial on charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust and fraudulently accepting benefits.

Mr Netanyahu did not mention the allegations in his comments at the start of a cabinet meeting later in the day.

Following the latest statement from police on Sunday, opposition politicians once again called on Netanyahu to resign. Other former employees have accused her of mistreatment, charges the Netanyahus have vehemently denied, and of excessive spending and charging the state for her private, expensive tastes.

Police say the investigation, which included the testimony of 60 witnesses, revealed that Netanyahu and Bezeq boss Shaul Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

While Netanyahu was questioned as a witness and not a suspect in the submarine case, the accusations against his lawyer and others in the investigation have only added to the pressure the prime minister is facing. The Israeli leader allegedly traded regulatory favors to a top telecommunications company in exchange for favorable news coverage. "A person with such a sickly obsession with what the media says about him must not lead the State of Israel".

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

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