Israeli police recommend Benjamin Netanyahu face bribery prosecution

Israeli police recommend Benjamin Netanyahu face bribery prosecution

The country's police force said they had found enough evidence to bring the charges against the leader and his wife, Sara, in a third corruption case.

In exchange, Elovitch, a long-time friend of Netanyahu's, allegedly ordered the Walla News website to provide favorable coverage of the Israeli premier and his wife.

Police in February recommended indicting the prime minister in two other corruption investigations.

"These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began", Mr Netanyahu said in a statement.

"I am certain that the authorized officials, after considering the matters, will reach the same conclusion in this case as well - that there was nothing because there is nothing", Netanyahu further said on Sunday.

But Netanyahu may want to seek a renewed mandate from the people, forcing a prosecutor to think twice before indicting him.

The prime minister is also accused of trying to strike a deal with a different leading media company for better coverage in return for limitations being placed on a rival newspaper.

Mr Netanyahu rejected the allegations in what is known as Case 4000.

In return, the couple are alleged to have been given more positive coverage on Walla! news website, owned by Bezeq.

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

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

Two of his top confidants have turned state witnesses and are believed to have provided police with incriminating evidence.

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". Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until previous year and oversaw regulation in the field.

It is claimed Netanyahu and his advisers supported regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to telecom company Bezeq.

Police recommended that Bezeq's former chairman, Shaul Elovitch, who was forced to step down earlier this year, stand trial for giving bribes.

Denying the charges today, Netanyahu said: "There was nothing because there is nothing".

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.

Following the latest statement from police on Sunday, opposition politicians once again called on Netanyahu to resign.

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