Israel's Netanyahu should be indicted for corruption, police say

Israel Police Recommend Indicting Benjamin Netanyahu In Corruption Probe

Police recommend Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery

Separately, police said earlier this month there was evidence to charge a Netanyahu lawyer and others with bribery in a corruption probe related to Israel's purchase of German submarines.

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

When police initially said he should be charged, Netanyahu said it was an attempt by his opponents to unseat him through corruption allegations because they couldn't win at the ballot box.

"Netanyahu and those close to him bluntly intervened, sometimes on a daily basis, with the content being published on the Walla news website, and sought to influence the appointment of senior employees (editors and reporters), while using their ties to Shaul and Iris Elovitch", the police statement read.

Authorities claim Mr Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to the country's leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel, in return for more favourable coverage of him and his wife on its news website, Walla.

Mr Netanyahu has long framed this investigation as a witch hunt organised by the media and the accusations against him as personal rather than legal in nature. Netanyahu, who just two weeks ago brought his coalition from the brink of collapse after a junior partner bolted, denied any wrongdoing.

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In Case 1000, Netanyahu is suspected of having received gifts from businessmen overseas totaling 1 million shekels (approximately $280,000), including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more, from 2007 through 2016.

Investigators pinpoint two key moments in the development of Case 4000 that helped ensnare some of its key state's witnesses, and in the end led to a scathing report against a sitting prime minister. The prime minister has argued that he is the victim of a left-wing and media conspiracy to topple his conservative government. Hefetz reportedly gave the police text messages and incriminating recordings indicating a quid pro quo relationship between Netanyahu and Bezeq Group.

Netanyahu has rejected the allegations, saying: "These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began". The attorney general will make the final decision on whether to press charges. Hefetz was, police say, desperate to do something about the Elovitch investigation he believed was underway. The people of Israel deserve a clean leadership.

Opposition leader Avi Gabbay, chairman of the Zionist Union party, called for the Prime Minister to stand down immediately. "There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony".

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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