Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Israeli Police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu & wife

Israeli Police recommend bribery charges against Netanyahu & wife

Police also said there is enough evidence to charge the Israeli leader's wife, Sara Netanyahu, with fraud, receiving bribes, and interfering with an investigation.

Authorities on Sunday alleged Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to Bezeq, Israel's largest telecommunications group, in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on Bezeq's subsidiary news website, Walla.

A spokesman for Mr Netanyahu said there was no legal basis for the police recommendations and that ultimately nothing would come of the investigation.

"The police recommendations regarding me and my wife don't surprise anyone", he said in a statement.

Police say their investigation includes the testimony of at least 60 witnesses and five years'work.

This is the third corruption probe in which police have recommended charges against the prime minister.

"The question is what will happen first: Will the attorney-general decide to prosecute or will the Government collapse?" said Reuven Hazan, a professor of political science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But Netanyahu may want to seek a renewed mandate from the people, forcing a prosecutor to think twice before indicting him.

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

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. Former journalists at the Walla news site have attested to being pressured to refrain from negative reporting of Netanyahu.

"A prime minister with so many criminal cases around him can not continue in his job and must resign", said Avi Gabbay, the head of the Labor party.

Following the latest statement from police on Sunday, opposition politicians once again called on Netanyahu to resign. "Israel must go to elections".

But Netanyahu's colleagues in the ruling Likud Party lined up behind him, attacking outgoing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh for releasing the recommendation on his last day on the job. The appointment of Alsheikh's potential successor is being held up after a government-appointed committee rejected his candidacy.

Netanyahu and his wife have long had reputations for being overindulgent and out of touch with common Israelis.

They recommended Sara Netanyahu face charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of evidence.

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